Three overtime periods on a cold and rainy Friday afternoon in Philadelphia spelled defeat for No. 15 Yale men’s lacrosse (5–2, 1–2 Ivy). Last week they were a comeback team, but this week they let their opponent, No. 13 Penn (5–3, 2–1), storm back in the second half.
“We all agree that this year we haven’t put together a complete game this season,” midfielder Matt Miller ’12 said. “And that won’t happen until we limit our turnovers.”
For the second week in a row, Yale (5–2, 1–2) ended up in overtime. Whereas last week against Princeton, the Bulldogs made up for a flat first half by closing a four-goal deficit to draw extra time, Yale lost a 6–3 lead early in the third quarter en route to the triple-overtime loss. Meanwhile, uncharacteristic hiccups by Yale’s close defense and all-star goalkeeper John Falcone ’11 burned the Bulldogs in a back-and-forth game decided by a fluke dodge and score by Quaker freshman Drew Belinsky.
Two fundamentals made the difference: turnovers and penalties. Yale committed a season-high 24 turnovers and 7 penalties in the game, enabling the Quakers to convert on three man-up opportunities. Trailing by three goals in the half, Penn went on a 5–0 streak to open the third quarter, featuring two scores by junior midfielder Dan Savage with Yale playing a man down.
“The third period was pretty tough for us,” Miller said. “We didn’t come out as fired up as we did for the rest of the game. The penalties killed us.”
While Yale regrouped in the fourth, forcing overtime on a shot from Miller with 37 seconds left in regulation, the Bulldogs failed to generate any offense in extra time. Yale’s lone shot on goal in the three overtime periods came four seconds into the first overtime, as Brandon Mangan ’14 tried to score his second game-winner in as many weeks with a hard bouncer from just inside the restraining line. But Penn goalie Brian Feeney snagged Mangan’s shot for one of the keeper’s six saves on the day. Two overtimes later, Penn capitalized on its first shot on goal in overtime, and sent the Bulldogs home exhausted and with their helmets held low.
The game had seesawed back and forth starting in the opening minute, as the two teams traded scoring runs. Penn attackman Corey Winkoff gave his team the lead just 1:16 into the game when his shot bounced off Falcone and then trickled over the goal line, just out of reach of the diving goaltender. But the Elis responded with two goals of their own in the next ten minutes and controlled the pace for the rest of the first half.
Brian Douglass ’11 made the score 2–1 for Yale in the first quarter when he took a crossing pass from Gibson and rifled a bouncing shot past Quaker goalie Brian Feeney. Although Penn responded late in the opening frame to tie the game, the Elis took control in the second quarter with three goals in just 1:50.
That run, which included goals from three different Elis, gave Yale a 5–2 lead. The home team responded to bring itself within two, but Douglass ensured that Yale would take a three-goal margin into the locker room when he raced around the left side of the Penn net, dove and flipped the ball past the beaten goaltender.
Yale could not maintain the momentum from the Douglass goal when it took the field again for the second half. The Quakers erupted for five unanswered third-goals in the quarter to seize an 8–6 advantage. Yale would not lead again.
Though the Bulldogs could not retake the advantage, they did tally three of the last four goals in regulation to send the game into sudden-death overtime. The last of those came with Yale down 9–8 just 37 seconds before the final whistle. Miller took advantage of man-up opportunity when he sprinted past a group of defenders and beat Penn’s goalie to the top corner.
The teams would have to play two full overtimes before Belinsky won the game for the Quakers. Yale survived a scare in the first extra frame when Corey Winkoff seemed to score on Falcone, but the goal was waved off for a crease violation.
Yale breathed a little easier in the second four-minute overtime period when it controlled most of the possession, but the Elis missed all four of their shots. They barely had a chance to think back on those misses in the third overtimes, as it took Belinsky a mere 45 seconds to win the contest for the Quakers.
The close loss highlighted just how close the teams at the top of the Ivy League are. Even though Yale’s past three games have been decided by a total of just four goals, the Bulldogs have come out on the wrong side in two of them.
Yale will follow up its longest game since 2001 when it kicks off a three-game homestand against Providence on Tuesday.