Lately, the No. 13 Elis seem nothing short of unstoppable.
The men’s lacrosse team will have the chance to extend its five-game winning streak another game when it takes on Bryant at home on Saturday in a battle of Bulldogs.
[ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”6625″ ]
The Elis (9–2, 3–2 Ivy) have just two games remaining in the regular season, and with a third-place spot in the Ancient Eight standings and only archrival Harvard left to face in the conference, Yale is poised to claim a berth to the inaugural Ivy League postseason tournament in early May.
But for head coach Andy Shay, that final conference game isn’t even on the radar yet.
“We keep looking forward and try not to look back too much,” Shay said. ”It’s certainly nice to look back once in a while and see you’ve got a hot streak going, but I think we know that if at any point in time we don’t focus on the next game, it will all come crashing down.”
For Shay, the focus of the moment is No. 22 Bryant (8–5). The Rhode Island squad is 3-3 in its last six games, most recently falling to Holy Cross, but Shay said Bryant still poses a tough challenge for the weekend.
Bryant’s defense allows just 6.5 goals per game — the lowest in the country.
“They’re phenomenal on defense,” Shay said. “They’re definitely a formidable opponent, and it’s going to be a very tough game.”
Shay called Bryant’s first midfield “excellent” and added that last year the team had the country’s top face-off man.
Still, the Blue continue to post impressive statistics of their own.
Goalie Johnathan Falcone ’11 is 13th in the nation with an 8.69 goals-against-average, while midfielder Max Rodman ’10 claims the same spot nationally in face-off win percentage. Eli attacker Brian Douglass ’11 is 15th in Division I Lacrosse in goals per game — he has tallied a team-leading 28 goals over 11 games this season. Attacker Matt Gibson ’12 leads the Yale squad with 43 points and just trails Douglass with 25 goals.
But those standout players are far from the only ones contributing to the team this season. Last weekend, eight different Yale players hit the back of the net in the 14–11 win against Brown. Two — Douglass and Gibson — were attackers, but five midfielders and one defender also scored in the contest.
And that’s partly why Shay thinks his group has encountered so much success this season.
“I think we’re very balanced in our scoring,” he said. “Against Brown, we got a huge day out of our midfield scoring-wise and I think that’s what helps us along the way here, that in some games certain guys step up, and on other days, other guys step up.”
Aside from stepping up on the field, the lacrosse team is also taking a swing at cancer this weekend by hosting a fundraiser for “Everyone Works for Jack!” — a campaign to support Bellarmine University lacrosse coach Jack McGetrick in his battle with the disease. The Elis will collect donations at both the 7 p.m. Bryant game and a youth clinic hosted at Reese Stadium from noon to 1 p.m. on Saturday.
“We would love to get as many students out there as possible,” Shay said.