As they stepped out onto the soggy turf of Reese Stadium Sunday afternoon, it seemed like nothing could go right for the members of the men’s lacrosse team. They had won only one of their last six games, dropping the last three straight by two goals or less. And they were in the midst of a torrential downpour, with winds gusting up to 32 miles per hour.
But the icy wind and rain could not stop the Bulldogs (5-5, 0-4 Ivy) from heating up against Manhattan (4-6), snapping their recent losing streak with an 18-5 blowout. Twelve different Elis converted scoring opportunities as the squad breezed past the Jaspers in the second of their two-game hiatus from Ivy League play.
“We told our guys to go out and have fun in the bad weather,” head coach Andy Shay said after the game. “We said if you worry about the conditions, you are going to struggle. It was just a good old-fashioned fun day in the rain. Our guys were fired up from the start.”
Although the playing conditions were not ideal, they were not bad enough to alter the course of the game, attacker Tyler Casertano ’08 said.
“It slowed the game down, because the cold really prevented our legs from getting warm at any point,” he said. “There were a bunch of turnovers caused by the weather, but luckily the rain wasn’t able to be the equalizer that it sometimes can be. We were still able to come away with a nice win.”
In the first quarter, the Elis raced to a 6-0 lead with a 14-6 edge on shots and scooped up 10 ground balls, compared to the Jaspers’ six. Brendan Gibson ’10, Nick Tsouris ’10, Mike Karwoski ’09, Tom Hamilton ’08, Casertano and captain Chris Kempner ’07 all got in on the scoring action.
Manhattan finally got on the board in the final seconds of the period with a goal by Jeremy Marrano, the first in a two-goal run that would be the Jaspers’ only consecutive scoring opportunity all afternoon. Despite getting two tallies from Brian Murray in the second quarter, Manhattan could not muster much offense against the Eli defenders and allowed Yale to take a commanding 10-3 lead at halftime.
In the second half, neither the rain nor the Eli attackers let up. James Ryan ’09 tallied first for the Bulldogs, who racked up eight more goals in the final 30 minutes of the game. Shay also pulled goalie George Carafides ’08 to give Joe Costa ’08 and David Atlas ’08 some time between the pipes. Both goalies held their own, allowing the struggling Manhattan offense just one goal apiece.
And Costa and Atlas were not the only members of the Eli reserves to contribute, as everyone on the roster got a chance to get their feet wet — literally and figuratively — in the second half. Michael Barry ’09 and Ryan each added a goal, and Francis Johnson ’09 had a career-high two tallies of his own.
“A lot of kids were able to not only play but to make a significant impact,” Casertano said. “The scoring was not just confined to a few players.”
But the Elis will not have as easy a time against Dartmouth (4-5, 1-2 Ivy) in their final home game on Wednesday, even if the weather manages to clear up. The Big Green have had some quality wins this season — most notably a 7-6 victory over the No. 11 Fighting Irish of Notre Dame — and will look to keep the Bulldogs winless in the Ivy League for another game.
“It’s a huge game for us,” midfielder Davis Lindsey ’08 said. “We need to notch an Ivy League win. They have a really strong attack, pretty good team defense and a young goalie. They’re a good team and they have explosive players, but not a lot of them.”