The No. 18 men’s lacrosse team never trailed in a 13–8 rout of Georgetown on Saturday. The victory extends the Bulldogs win streak to five games going into the team’s regular season finale at Harvard on April 30.
While the Georgetown game will hardly improve Yale’s chances of receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, Princeton’s loss to Harvard on Saturday guarantees the Bulldogs a spot in the Ivy League post-season, where they will compete for an automatic bid to the national tournament.
“Our defense did a really good job of containing their very athletic offense,” Phil Gross ’13 said. “It was a great win to take us into our last league game against Harvard.”
For the first time this season, the Elis (10–2, 3–2 Ivy) put together a complete 60 minutes of lacrosse with solid contributions coming on both sides of the field. Face-off specialist Cole Yeager ’13 dominated his four Georgetown Hoya (5–7, 2–2 Big East) opponents, winning 16 of 25 draws and grinding out 14 ground balls.
Yeager’s gritty play was only exceeded by senior stand-out goalie John Falcone ’11, who frustrated the Hoyas’ attackmen with 13 saves, including five stops from point blank. Falcone is currently in the running for the Lowe’s Senior Class Award, awarded to a top-notch graduating lacrosse player dedicated to work on the field and off, both in the classroom and in the community.
“I thought we played rally well, probably the best offensive out of the year,” Mike Sweeney ’12 said. “The defense played solid as usual, but Cole and Johnny won it for us.”
Yale’s senior-most attackmen, Brian Douglass ’11 and Matt Gibson ’12, combined for eight points in what was the best offensive effort by the Bulldogs since they crushed Presbyterian and Mercer with 22-goal performances. On the other end, Michael McCormack ’13 pick-pocketed attackers with four caused turnovers and four ground balls.
Yale led off the game with two goals coming from the midfield, before Georgetown’s Davey Emala was able to finish one low on Falcone with 7:05 left in the first quarter. The Bulldogs’ attack quickly responded by exploiting the Hoyas’ loose off-the-ball defense, with Gibson dodging from the ‘X’ to finish the quarter with a goal and an assist to Douglass. Thanks to six big saves by Falcone, the Bulldogs led 4-1 going into the second — and they never looked back.
“I was really impressed with both the offense and defense,” Douglass said. “The first half was some of the best lacrosse I’ve seen us play.”
The Hoyas struck first in the second on a low-to-high elevator shot by Travis Comeau with 12:32 left in the half. But the Bulldogs scored five of the next six goals to bury Georgetown going into the locker room at halftime. Gibson continued to get past the defense, namely on a goal in which he split two d-poles and snuck it past goalie Jack Davis just over a minute after Comeau’s finish. Fifty seconds later, midfielder Matt Miller ’12 evaded Ryan Shuler on an alley dodge that harkened back to Miller’s high school days as a St. Albans middie fighting against Shuler’s Georgetown Prep.
With Yale clicking on offense and Georgetown appearing exhausted and down-trodden, the Bulldogs were poised to put away the home team, leading 9-3 at the half. The Hoyas, unable to penetrate Yale’s close defense even when man-up, held their gray helmets low, as if they were still reeling from last week’s loss to Loyola that practically eliminated the Hoyas from post-season contention.
The second half was a back-and-forth battle with Yale responding to every Georgetown comeback attempt. Hot-handed freshman Brandon Mangan ’14 scored Yale’s only goal of the third quarter to notch his tenth of the season. Falcone, McCormack and Yale’s defense limited the Hoyas to five shots on goal in the third, two of which found the net.
In the final frame, two uncommon goal-scorers — defensive middie Michael Pratt ’12 and Yeager — found the net off of face-offs. Shuler partially made up for his defensive error against Miller with two goals to cap off a three goal run by Georgetown to close the game. But the Hoyas could not come within five goals of the Bulldogs and lost their composure as the clock approached zero. With 2:37 remaining, Georgetown defenseman Barney Ehrmann hit high on Douglass and taunted the Yale attackman all the way to a two minute penalty for unnecessary roughness.
Unfortunately for Ehrmann, his poorly executed check could do little to ease the pain of a 13–8 loss in front of a television audience.
Yale will head to Cambridge on Saturday for their final regular season Ivy League game.