Dogfight in Albany: Bulldogs take on Great Danes

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Photo by YDN.

After starting their season off on the right foot with a dominating 19–6 win against St. John’s last Saturday, the No. 16 Bulldogs ride the momentum into tomorrow’s contest against Albany.

In their first test of the season, the Bulldogs turned in a complete team effort against the Red Storm at Reese Stadium. Meanwhile, the Great Danes (0–2, 0–0 America East) travel to Reese Stadium looking to rebound from two losses to start the season, albeit to two formidable teams — No. 8 Syracuse and Drexel. Midfielder Matt Miller ’13 said the team is feeling good going into the match.

“It’s a great feeling, now we need to just get out and focus on the next game,” Miller said.

The Bulldogs offense was firing on all cylinders. Attackmen Matt Gibson ’12 and Brandon Mangan ’14 set the pace with four goals apiece. The Elis’ faceoff unit of Cole Yeager ’13 and Dylan Levings ’14 dominated at the X, combining for a 17–for-28 record in total. The Bulldogs defense was stifling as well, limiting a vaunted St. John’s attack unit to just six goals.

The Great Danes’ first defeat was a respectable 12–7 loss against No. 8-ranked Syracuse, although Syracuse led 10–2 after three quarters. In its next game against Drexel, Albany fell 13–8, although the Dragons came within a goal of knocking off No. 1 Virginia in their season opener Feb. 18.

In its first two games of the season Albany has outshot its opponents and taken more shots on net, although it is averaging five fewer goals per game than its opponents. The Great Danes are averaging 22.5 shots on goal per game, and Eli goalkeeper Eric Natale ’15 will likely be tested in his second collegiate start. Natale had two saves in last weekend’s contest but saw only eight shots on net as the Bulldogs’ offense controlled possession and the defense caused eight turnovers.

The Elis will once again look to control possession through the faceoff game against Albany. Yeager and Levings led the nation last year with a .659 overall winning percentage while the Great Danes’ faceoff specialists have combined to win only 22 of their 48 draws this season. In last week’s game against St. John’s, Levings was able to win several faceoffs cleanly and turn them into fast break opportunities for the Bulldogs.

Yale will also look for scoring opportunities in their man-up sets this weekend. The Great Danes have only been called for three penalties this season, but have been scored on in man-down situations three times. Midfielder Brian Mahony ’12 has one of the fastest shots in the Bulldogs’ lineup and scored two extra-man goals last week from his top-center position.

After Albany, the Bulldogs remain at home to take on nearby Sacred Heart on Tuesday before going on the road next week to take on Lehigh and No. 7 Cornell.

Tomorrow’s game begins at 1 p.m. at Reese Stadium.

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