A strong push in the fourth quarter last Friday led the men’s lacrosse team a step closer to a fourth consecutive appearance in the Ivy League tournament.
On Friday, the Brown Bears came to Reese Stadium for the Bulldogs’ fifth Ivy game of the season and fell to Yale 11–8. After jumping out to a quick two-goal lead in the first quarter, Brown kept the lead to two in the second despite Yale increasing production to three goals. In the third quarter, Brown outscored the Bulldogs, and in the fourth quarter, the Bears jumped one goal ahead before Yale went on another late-game scoring spree to push the Elis past Brown to break its .500 conference record and extend its winning streak to four. The Bulldogs continued to outshoot their opponents and dominated the details to earn their seventh win of the season.
“It is reassuring to know that we have been able to remain calm late in games and keep our composure,” captain Mike McCormack ’13 said. “I think that this is a testament to our work ethic and our competitive drive, but it also reminds us that every game is a grind.”
A week earlier on April 6, midfielder Colin Flaherty ’15 scored all three of Yale’s late goals to lift the Elis past Dartmouth to tie their Ivy record at 2–2. Against Brown, attackman Kirby Zdrill ’13, attackman Brandon Mangan ’14 and Flaherty all contributed to Yale’s fourth-quarter performance, coming back from an 8–7 deficit to put the Elis on top 11–8 by the end of 60 minutes.
Outshooting the Brown Bears 41–33 and going 2-for-7 on man-up opportunities allowed Yale to score when it mattered. Despite missing its first five man-up scoring chances, both Zdrill and Flaherty, who earned Ivy Player of the Week honors, were able to put away scoring chances when the Bulldogs were a man up in the final six minutes of play.
Without ball possession, however, the Elis would have had difficulty generating the scoring opportunities they did. Faceoff specialist Dylan Levings ’14 continued to excel at the X like he has all season, winning 11 of 20 faceoffs. The extra two wins gave Yale more time with the ball and helped to create offensive opportunities.
“Brown was a gritty win for us definitely,” defenseman Michael Quinn ’16 said.
Yale also just barely edged the Brown Bears in ground balls, taking 26 of 50.
The Bulldogs’ seasoned defensive unit cleared 16 of 20 balls and caused 18 turnovers in Saturday’s win over Brown. Without a rock-solid defense, the Bulldogs would not have had the opportunity to create offensively.
With Saturday’s win over Brown, Yale was able to pull into the second-place ranking in the Ivy League, behind only the 4–0 Cornell Big Red. But below them are both Princeton and Harvard, who are currently 2–2 with one less game played than the Bulldogs. It is possible that a five-way tie between the teams in the second through sixth places at a record of 3–3 which would result in tiebreakers deciding which four teams will head to the Ivy tournament.
If the Elis do make it, they will be prepared.
“Playing in close games like Brown and Dartmouth will help us if we run into similar situations as the season carries on,” McCormack said.
Yale defeated Stony Brook Monday night with a score of 11–10 and will next face off against Maryland in College Park on April 20.