Despite a quick start and plenty of shots, the No. 17 Yale men’s lacrosse team fell 10–9 to the St. John’s Red Storm (2-0, 1-0 Big East) in its first game of the season.
The Bulldogs (0–1, 0–0 Ivy) traveled to Jamaica Queens, N.Y., on Saturday to take on the Red Storm, but even though the Elis had 48 shots to St. John’s 23 and 32 ground balls to St. John’s 18, it was missed ground balls at crucial moments and quality of shots that brought the Bulldogs down in the end.
“We didn’t finish opportunities,” long stick midfielder Mike Quinn ’16 said.
Quinn also said the Elis took questionable shots and did not execute the game play to the best of their ability on defense.
In a game in which the scoring went back and forth, the Bulldogs jumped out to a quick 3–1 lead but were unable to sustain it.
Attackman Brandon Mangan ’14 opened up the scoring for the Bulldogs this season five minutes into the first quarter. The Red Storm’s Kevin Cernuto evened up the game just under 40 seconds later, but goals from attackmen Conrad Oberbeck ’15 and Kirby Zdrill ’13 gave the Elis a two goal lead heading into the second quarter.
St. John’s regrouped during the first break, however, and dominated the scring in the second quarter, putting away four goals to Yale’s one. Midfielder Sean Shakespeare ’15 tried to save face for the Elis near the end of the quarter with an unassisted goal with 2:20 remaining in the first half which narrowed St. John’s lead to one with a score of 4–5, but the Red Storm nevertheless ended the first half on top.
“St. John’s has a high powered offense and they were able to get a few goals off of us with picks,” captain Michael McCormack said.
Zdrill tried to bring the momentum back to the Elis’ right from the start in the second half with his second man-up goal of the game just 49 seconds into the third quarter. Zdrill completed the hat trick later in the third quarter, but St. John’s still outscored the Bulldogs 3–2 to widen their lead to two.
Yale wasn’t knocked down yet, however, as goals from midfielder Michael Lipin ’13 and Mangan tied the score at 8–8 with 6:42 left to play. St. John’s took the lead again and Shakespeare tied it back up at nine with 4:18 to go, but the Red storm put the final nail in the coffin with just under a minute left to play.
Face-off specialist Dylan Levings ’14 went 13 for 22 on his face-offs, giving the Elis an advantage on possessions, and goal keeper Eric Natale ’15 stopped seven of 17 shots in his first start this season.
Zdrill now leads the Elis in scoring with three goals on his only three shots on goal taken against the Red Storm for a 100 percent shooting percentage. Midfielder Shane Thornton ’15 leads the Bulldogs in assists with two in his first game.
Though Yale faced some tough turnovers, problems with communication and missed some crucial ground balls, the Elis know that these are all first-game problems as the Bulldogs are still adjusting to playing with one another.
“I don’t think we made any real scheme changes, more so refining the way we defended their offense between quarters,” McCormack said. “We practiced all week defending their big little and had a few mental lapses that led to goals.”
The Elis will head to Albany next Saturday to take on the No. 16 Great Dane’s at 1 p.m.
“We’re looking to build off of our mistakes on Saturday and get better for our upcoming game against Albany,” McCormack said.
The University of Albany is ranked just one spot above the Bulldogs this season.