No. 10 Cornell proved the first hurdle the men’s lacrosse team couldn’t clear this season.
The Big Red (5–1, 1–0 Ivy) clobbered the No. 17 Bulldogs (4–1, 0–1) with an 18–7 win in Ithaca, N.Y., on Saturday to end Yale’s undefeated run in their first Ivy League game of the season.
“They’re definitely the best team we’ve played so far, but we had probably our worst game against them,” said attacker Matt Gibson ’12, who scored two of the Elis’ seven goals in the contest.
Cornell took the lead from the get-go, when midfielder Chris Langton notched the game’s opening goal in the second minute of play, coming in from the left to slide the ball past goalie Jonathan Falcone ’11. It was the first of four goals Langton scored against the Bulldogs. Big Red attackers Scott Austin and Ryan Hurley also recorded four goals apiece.
Attacker Rob Pannell got the next goal for the home team less than a minute later before Matt Gibson put Yale on the board with 12:21 remaining in the first quarter. But Gibson’s goal was the only one the Elis saw in that frame. Cornell had a 5–1 advantage when the first quarter ended and had outshot Yale, 11–6.
“They have one of the best attacks in the country,” head coach Andy Shay said. “We got away from what we normally do, and they took advantage of us.”
The Bulldogs outshot Cornell in each of the three remaining quarters, but were unable to capitalize on many opportunities. The Big Red racked up another five goals in just the second quarter, while the Blue only found the back of the net twice.
Langton had a hat trick in the second quarter and Hurley added another before Yale midfielders Greg Mahony ’12 and Michael Pratt ’12 finally got Yale’s offense going. Mahony responded to Cornell’s four goals that quarter with a tally of his own at 4:52 remaining and Pratt followed with another just five seconds later. But attacker Chris Ritchie swung the momentum back to Cornell right before time expired in the quarter, bypassing Falcone 24 seconds before halftime to give the home team a 10–3 advantage heading into the break.
Things seemed a bit tighter after the restart, with the Big Red getting three goals in the third quarter and the Elis recording two.
Neither side scored for the first five minutes, but Cornell attacker Rob Pannell managed to tally an unassisted goal when his team was one man down at 5:20 into the quarter. Ritchie added another 40 seconds later, bringing the home squad to a 12–3 lead.
Midfielder Matt Fuchs ’10 and attacker Brendan Gibson ’10 scored the two Bulldog goals that quarter, making a small dent in the Big Red advantage with 7:04 and 5:52 remaining, respectively. But Hurley scored again with two seconds left on the clock in the third, giving his team a definitive 13–5 lead heading into the final quarter.
And if Cornell hadn’t sealed the deal heading into that frame, the Big Red put the win away with another five goals in the last 15 minutes.
Eli Matt Gibson scored first in the quarter with a goal at even strength in the opening minute but Cornell tallied four goals over the next seven minutes, with three in a row coming from Austin. Brendan Gibson briefly interrupted the home team’s momentum when he found the back of the net for Yale with 4:23 left on the clock, but Cornell had the final say — scoring its 18th goal with 2:25 remaining.
Matt Gibson said the Blue made mistakes all over the field in Saturday’s game.
“We got outhustled,” he said. “We had lapses defensively, we couldn’t get it going offensively, we just didn’t do too well anywhere.”
The Big Red now top the Ivy League rankings with their 0.83 win percentage. No. 5 Princeton and No. 20 Brown also hold 1–0 conference records after the first weekend of Ancient Eight competition.
Despite the messy game against Cornell, the Elis still posted several other strong performances during spring break. Matt Gibson scored the game-winning goal against then No. 12 UMass to break a 12–12 tie right before time expired when the Bulldogs avenged an 18–6 loss to the Minutemen last year on March 5 at Reese Stadium. Yale also notched victories against Presbyterian College and Lehigh to open the season with a four-game perfect record.
“Starting off the season 4-0 is great,” Brendan Gibson said prior to facing Cornell. “It gives the team some confidence coming into Ivy League play.”
The Elis will have a chance to reclaim that confidence in league competition when they take on Princeton from Reese Stadium this Saturday at 1 p.m.