M. LACROSSE | Non-league opponent Bryant narrowly fended off a late-game rally by No. 13 Yale to upset the Elis 9–7 on Saturday night.
The loss brought an abrupt end to a five-game undefeated run by the Yale Bulldogs. The Elis (9–3, 3–2 Ivy) struck three times in the fourth frame to cut the 8–4 lead Bryant (9–5) held at the quarter’s start, but Yale’s final surge just wasn’t enough to overcome the visitors.
“We lost focus,” head coach Andy Shay said. “[Bryant] had long possessions. They held the ball, and it ate away at us.”
Bryant didn’t hesitate to get on the board Saturday night. Midfielder Max Weisenberg scored an unassisted goal just 13 seconds into play to put his team ahead, 1–0.
Yale attacker Brian Douglass ’11 equalized with about 10 minutes left in the first period, scoring off a feed from midfielder Matt Miller ’12. Then the visitors pulled ahead with 2:46 left in the quarter when Bryant midfielder Gary Crowley scored an extra-man goal. Yale evened things up quickly again, with attacker Matt Gibson ’12 hitting the upper left corner of the net with two minutes on the clock.
But Bryant pulled ahead once more with an unassisted goal 16 seconds before the quarter ended. And the upstart squad never let up that lead for the remainder of the game.
Yale only scored once in the second quarter while Bryant hit the net three times to take a 6–3 advantage heading into halftime. The away team widened that margin with two more tallies in the third quarter and again held Yale to just one goal in the 15-minute stretch.
In fact, Bryant effectively shut down the Eli offense for most of the game. The visitors consistently prevented Yale from getting shots off and repeatedly caused the home team to turnover possession.
“They have an unconventional defense — something we haven’t seen all year,” midfielder Greg Mahony ’12 said. “It took us a little while to get used to it.”
The Elis finally rallied in the final frame, but the efforts at that point, as Shay put it, were “too little, too late.”
Mahony, who scored the Elis’ lone goal in the third period, got the home squad’s momentum going when he scored an unassisted goal four minutes into the quarter. Bryant midfielder Matt Larson countered with a goal two minutes later.
Yale struck twice more in the last five minutes of the game: Miller scored an extra-man goal off a feed from attacker Brendon Gibson ’10 at 5:05, and defender Michael McCormack ’13 got his third career goal to make the score 9–7 with one minute left. But that was as close as the Elis ever came to closing the gap.
Mahony said the team pulled together in the fourth quarter, but only after playing with mostly individual efforts for the prior three periods.
“Once you get in a hole, everyone wants to do it themselves,” Mahony said. “We didn’t start getting goals until we got out of that and worked as a team a little more.”
Yale returns to Reese Stadium for its last game of the regular season against Harvard this coming Saturday at 1 p.m.