On Sunday, the Elis kicked off spring play with a preseason scrimmage against Siena at Reese Stadium. Although it was a scrimmage and no official score was tallied, captain Michael Pratt ’12 and head coach Andy Shay both said Yale outshot Siena.
Despite the freezing weather, a crowd of approximately 40 supporters from both the Bulldogs and Saints sides showed no signs of discomfort as they cheered on their teams.
Over the course of the scrimmage, Pratt, Shane Thornton ’15, Michael Lipin ’13, Gregory Mahony ’12, Matt Miller ’12, Conrad Oberbeck ’15, Matt Gibson ’12, Ryan McCarthy ’14 and Benjamin Gifford ’12 secured at least one goal apiece.
“Siena was definitely a strong team,” Pratt said. “They played in the NCAA last season, won the MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference), and, importantly, a good goalie returned. However, I am really happy that we did well overall. We played especially good offense by controlling the ball in an offensive set.”
Shay was satisfied by his team’s performance, saying it responded well to the difficult conditions. Pratt added that Cole Yeager ’13 did particularly well in faceoff.
Miller, a midfielder for the Bulldogs, said the team had good ball movement.
Heading into the scrimmage, the greatest uncertainty for the team was who would start in goal. But this area of concern did not seem to matter much in Sunday’s match. Jack Meyer ’14, one of the three goalies for the squad, played two quarters, and Peter Spaulding ’13 and Eric Natale ’15 split the other half of the game. The starting spot is still up in the air as the three grapple for the chance to earn fill the gaping hole left by the 2011 All-New England first team goalkeeper Johnathan Falcone ’11.
“All three goalies played well, but we are no further along in our decision because there were not a lot of shots taken in the scrimmages,” Shay said.
There were several unofficial practice matches in the fall, but this match was the first test against live college opponents for Yale’s freshmen.
“I was proud of Harry Kucharczyk ’15 since although he was originally recruited as a midfielder, he was able to contribute to the team’s smooth match by excelling in the defense,” Pratt said. “Thornton and Oberbeck obviously did really well by scoring goals. None of them showed nerves in their first match.”
The Elis will compete in two more scrimmages next weekend, one against Tufts and the other against Quinnipiac.
Pratt said Quinnipiac is usually a tough team to play in the preseason since its players are adept at running some exotic offenses and rides.The Elis will begin preparing some countermeasures to parry such maneuvers in this week’s practices.
The Elis are scheduled to face Division III No. 5 Tufts at 5 p.m. and Quinnipiac at 7 p.m., both at Reese Stadium. The team will play the season’s official first match on Feb. 25 against St. John’s.