M. LACROSSE | Back on track

Michael McCormack ’13 looks for an open teammate during Yale’s 16–14 win over Penn on Saturday at Reese Stadium. The Elis notched their first Ivy win against the Quakers.
Michael McCormack ’13 looks for an open teammate during Yale’s 16–14 win over Penn on Saturday at Reese Stadium. The Elis notched their first Ivy win against the Quakers. Photo by Alison Griswold.

All it took was one weekend. In two days, attacker Brian Douglass ’11 topped his 2009 goal total and fueled two Bulldog wins.

Douglass tallied seven goals Saturday to help Yale notch its first Ivy League victory this season with a 16–14 win against Penn at Reese Stadium. The junior attacker was good for another six goals as the Elis (6–2, 1–2 Ivy) also defeated Detroit Mercy 12–8 in an Easter special on Sunday.

The Elis jumped out to a 10–0 lead in Saturday’s Ancient Eight contest, but the Quakers (4–6, 0–3) rallied in the second half, narrowing the gap with 12 goals and grabbing the game’s momentum.

“Some teams are very good at adjusting mid-game,” Douglass said. “It’s hard to defend against that but I really felt like the guys fought the comeback.”

Yale had a 3–0 lead in the first quarter after a pair of goals by Douglass and another tally by attacker Brendan Gibson ’10. The Blue largely controlled possession in the first quarter, and foiled most of Penn’s opportunities when the visitors entered Yale’s defensive zone.

The Bulldogs continued to widen the gap in the second quarter, scoring another seven goals before the Quakers got on the scoreboard.

Midfielder Matt Fuchs ’10 capitalized first in the second quarter, with an unassisted goal at 14:13 to make it 4–0. Attacker Matt Gibson ’12, Brendan Gibson, and Douglass also tallied to open up the 10–0 lead with just more than two minutes left before halftime.

It looked like Yale would keep the shutout running as halftime approached, until midfielder Al Kohart — Penn’s second-leading scorer heading into the game against Yale — beat goalie Johnathan Falcone ’11 from close range to get the Quakers on the board. Kohart’s shot hit the left side of the net with 1:45 left in the quarter. Kohart kept the newfound momentum going with an unassisted goal 17 seconds before halftime.

Penn’s rally continued in earnest after the restart and the game’s statistics flipped.

While the Blue had outshot Penn 25–12 in the first half, the visitors recorded 36 shots to Yale’s 13 in the second half and won 12 of 19 face-offs (Yale won 9 of 14 face-offs in the first half). What’s more, Yale accrued only three penalties to Penn’s six in the first half, but had five to the Quaker’s four in the final 30 minutes.

The Quakers outscored the Elis 4–3 in the third quarter and largely controlled possession.

Trailing Yale 13–6 at the start of the fourth quarter, Penn capitalized eight more times in the final 15 minutes to cut the lead Yale had held all game. But the Elis scored three goals of their own down the stretch and ultimately prevented Penn from completing the comeback.

“[In] the middle of the fourth, we were holding the ball and not pressing the cage,” head coach Andy Shay said. “We should have kept the throttle going.”

Midfielder Dan Savage notched the Quaker’s 12th and final goal with 30 seconds remaining in the game, and the visitors threatened Yale’s net again soon after. But Falcone made a big save with 10 seconds left on the clock and heaved the ball to the other end of the field, letting time run out before either side could regain possession.

While late-game rallies proved a challenge to the Blue last year, Douglass said things are different this season.

“I think the one big difference this year is playing to win rather than playing not to lose,” he said.

Douglass and the Elis certainly played to win again Sunday when they faced Detroit (2–8, 1–1 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference).

Douglass earned six more tallies to finish the weekend with 13 — scoring more goals in two days than the 12 he totaled during the 2009 season. The junior attacker now has a team-leading 24 goals, after he entered Saturday’s contest with 11 to Matt Gibson’s 12.

“I’m extremely impressed,” Shay said. “Brian works really hard in practice and the attackers are really starting to work together, so I hope he can keep it rolling.”

But Shay was less impressed with his team’s performance against the Titans.

“We played sloppy,” Shay said. “It never felt clean and it always felt kind of sticky.”

Yale led 3–2 at the end of the first quarter, but Detroit had tied things at four apiece nine minutes into the second quarter. The Elis pulled ahead again 49 seconds later, with midfielder Gregory Mahony ’12 scoring off a feed from midfielder Matt Fuchs ’10 while the Tigers were two men down.

Detroit equalized again just 20 seconds after the restart, but it was the last time the Titans would pull even with Yale. Douglass, Brendan Gibson, and Mahony each added another goal for the Blue during the next five minutes to put the Bulldogs up 8–5. The score was 9–6 with four minutes left in the third quarter and Detroit had a chance to cut the deficit at 2:19, but a shot by attacker Scott Harris rang off the pipe.

The Titans had another opportunity in the final frame when a 60-second slashing penalty was called on Yale, but the Bulldogs kept possession of the ball and killed the penalty before Detroit could threaten the net.

Falcone finished the day with 10 saves — six coming in the second half. He made 14 saves against Penn the day before.

“Johnathan Falcone played another good game,” Brendan Gibson said. “He came in with some confidence.”

The Elis faceoff next in an away game against Dartmouth at 1 p.m. Saturday.

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