Eight different Bulldogs found the net as the men’s lacrosse team overcame a 3–0 deficit to beat Dartmouth (2–7, 0–3 Ivy) 13–11 on Saturday. The victory stretched the Elis’ current winning streak to three and kept Yale (5–4, 2–2 Ivy) in the race to get into the Ivy League tournament.
“We had eight different guys score goals [on Saturday]; it was good to spread it around,” captain Michael Pratt ’12 said. “We played great defensively too and strung a pretty good game together. We’re back to .500 in the Ivy League and looking forward to Brown on Friday.”
Attackman Matt Gibson ’12 led the Bulldogs with four goals spread across the final three quarters. He was joined by fellow attackers Conrad Oberbeck ’15 and Deron Dempster ’13, who finished with two goals and three points apiece. The scoring was rounded out by goals from attackman Brandon Mangan ’14 and midfielders Matt Miller ’12, Colin Still ’12, Shane Thornton ’15 and Pratt in an impressive showcase of the Elis’ depth. Midfielder Greg Mahony ’12 played the role of facilitator for the Bulldogs, contributing two assists to the offensive effort.
Yale won its second straight Ivy League game and moved back to .500 in the conference. The win gives the team some breathing space after losses to No. 5 Cornell and No. 10 Princeton left the Elis with their backs to the wall two weeks ago. Only the top four teams in the conference make the Ivy League tournament, and Pratt said that the team will have to finish 4–2 against Ivy opponents to qualify. Cornell and Princeton are undefeated in the Ivy League and will likely take the top two spots, leaving Yale, Harvard (5–5, 2–1 Ivy) and Brown (4–6, 1–2 Ivy) fighting for the remaining two berths.
The Bulldogs started the game off in a zone defense, but the Big Green exploited it early, finding the net three straight times in the first four minutes of the game. On the other end of the field, Dartmouth’s defense held Yale’s offense in check for the first 14 minutes and seven seconds of the first quarter.
But with less than a minute remaining in the period, Miller’s goal broke the seal, and the Elis were off to the races. Yale’s defense switched to a man-to-man formation out of their zone, and the Bulldogs went on an 11–3 run over the next 35 minutes. Dempster scored his first goal with four seconds left in the first quarter to pull Yale within one, and equalized for the Bulldogs shortly after the first break.
“I’m continually proud of our resilience,” coach Andy Shay said of his team’s comeback.
The numbers told the tale of Yale’s victory, as the Bulldogs held an edge in almost all statistical categories. They outshot the Big Green 40–29 and held a 31–25 advantage in ground balls. Pratt led the loose ball effort, collecting a game-high seven for the Elis.
“Once we changed our game plan [out of the zone] our defense did a good job of getting the ball on the ground,” Pratt said. “And after the ball is on the ground, it’s always part of our game plan to go after it hard, and we just did a good job of executing.”
The Bulldogs once again dominated at the face-off X, winning 18 of 28 contests. Dylan Levings ’14, the third ranked face-off specialist in the country, won 12 of his 17 draws while Cole Yeager ’13 added six more wins of his own. Success at the X has been one of the most consistent elements of the team’s play this season, and the duo’s effectiveness will be important for the rest of Yale’s race to the Ivy League tournament.
Gibson’s third goal opened the scoring in the fourth quarter and put Yale up 11–6. Two minutes later, Dartmouth attacker Kip Dooley cut the lead to four and for the last nine minutes of the game, the Big Green pulled its goalie and double-teamed the ball every time Yale entered the offensive zone. Head coach Andy Shay said that this tactic succeeded in forcing the ball out of his player’s sticks half the time, and the added pressure helped Dartmouth close the gap to two by the end of the game. Yet the Bulldogs’ defense held strong, and the Elis were able to come away with a crucial victory.
The team travels to Providence next Friday to take on Brown in a 7 p.m. game.