Despite a 10-goal performance from Tigers midfielder Jake Froccaro, the No. 16 men’s lacrosse team held off No. 10 Princeton thanks to a last-minute save by goaltender Eric Natale ’15 and a tally by midfielder Mark Glicini ’16 with 38 seconds left in the game.
With the 16–15 victory on Saturday, the Elis (4–2, 1–1 Ivy) handed the Tigers (4–3, 1–1) their first conference loss and rebounded from a loss to No. 3 Cornell the Saturday before.
“Offensively, I think this was one of our best performances in a while,” midfielder Michael Bonacci ‘16 said. “Our coach all week had been telling us to value possessions and I think we really played patiently and continuously made the easy play against this Princeton defense. We knew that if we didn’t try to do too much and we got deeper into possessions we were going to get high percentage shots and we finished them when we got them.”
Yale scored the first four goals of the game and dominated Princeton, holding them without an offensive touch for the first five minutes of play. The Tigers, however, came roaring back into the game, adding six of the next nine goals in the contest to go into halftime up 7–6.
The Bulldogs matched Princeton’s offensive talent, piling on six goals in the third quarter and five goals in the final frame to win a 31-goal shootout at Reese Stadium on Alumni Day. The game featured three lead changes and six ties, including a late 15–15 tie after Princeton scored with just over a minute and a half to play.
Yale’s defense, which had previously given up just 7.8 goals per game, held Princeton’s high-powered duo of attackman Mike MacDonald and midfielder Tom Schreiber to just one goal and four assists between the two. The Tigers, however, found their offense through Froccaro. The midfielder was covered by one of Yale’s short stick defensive midfielders throughout the game and took advantage of the matchup, tying the Princeton record for most goals in a game set back in 1951. The junior scored five straight unanswered goals spanning a 12-minute period encompassing the second and third quarters.
“We knew it was going to be tough to stop Princeton’s offense, but we were confident in our ability to limit them to low percentage shots and minimize our own mistakes,” defenseman Michael Quinn ’16 said. “Froccaro definitely had a good game but I think we were happy with how we stayed together as a unit and did not get frustrated with his success.”
After several quiet performances, star Eli attackman Brandon Mangan ’14 broke out on Saturday afternoon, hitting the back of the net five times. Mangan scored twice in the first quarter and added three unanswered in the third period during a two minute span to lead the Elis to victory.
The senior’s hat trick in the middle of the third frame first tied the game at 9–9, then expanded the Bulldogs’ lead, ensuring the Elis would never again trail in the contest. The Tewaaraton Award watchlist nominee added two assists for a career-high afternoon with seven points.
Attackman Conrad Oberbeck ’15, who has posted hat tricks or better in four of the last five games, assisted on three of Mangan’s goals and scored his own treble to finish the game with six points.
The Bulldogs had several other players to thank on offense, including midfielders Glicini and Bonacci and attackman J.W. McGovern ’16. In addition to scoring the game-winning goal, Glicini assisted on Mangan’s goal that tied the game at eight. Glicini made a strong, heads-up play to scoop up a groundball after a faceoff, run behind the cage and initiate a dodge and feed to a wide-open Mangan for the score. The sophomore, who has been used primarily as a shortstick defensive midfielder, had a career-high day with two goals and two assists.
Bonacci showed his breakaway quickness, scoring goals from tight angles late in the third and early in the fourth quarters. McGovern, who has been Yale’s fourth attackman for most of the season, played most of the game for the Bulldogs. He came up with two assists, including one on the game-winning goal, to go along with his goal in the third quarter.
After several underwhelming performances, faceoff specialist Dylan Levings ’14 trounced every man the Tigers put at the X. The Tewaaraton Award watchlist nominee won 25 of 35 restarts and picked up 14 ground balls, a category Yale dominated 35–21. The senior was crucial to the Bulldogs’ success, scoring in the first half and winning the faceoff that led to Glicini’s game-winning goal.
“Dylan’s performance was absolutely integral to our win,” midfielder Colin Flaherty ‘15 said. “Just like in the Ivy League Championship last season, Dylan was able to control almost all of the faceoffs which gave us may more possessions.”
Natale had double digit saves for the third time this season, stopping 10 shots including the crucial final shot when Princeton had a man-advantage for the last 21 seconds of the game. The Tigers had scored on four of their previous six advantages, but the second-year starter denied attackman Kip Orban’s rip from the top of the box.
The win gave the Elis a 2–2 record over break. Yale’s first game, back on March 8, was a 12–11 OT loss to Fairfield. The Stags scored the first goal of the game, and the Bulldogs had to battle back throughout the first three quarters, needing four straight unanswered goals to send the game to overtime. But in the extra period, Fairfield scored with just under a minute and a half remaining to complete the upset. Midfielder Shane Thorton ’15 had two goals and two assists while Oberbeck led the team with four tallies and one helper.
Just three days later, the Bulldogs had an emphatic 10–2 victory over No. 12 Lehigh, holding the Mountain Cats to just three shots on target. Midfielders Flaherty and Eric Scott ’17 and Mangan had two goals apiece. The highlight of the game came at the beginning of the fourth quarter when defenseman and captain Jimmy Craft ’14 saw Lehigh’s goaltender out of net and hurled the ball from his own restraining box into the unguarded net for the Bulldogs ninth goal.
On April 15 the Elis opened their Ivy League campaign with an 11–9 loss to the Big Red. The Elis trailed by as many as five goals and saw their late comeback attempt fall short. Midfielder Sean Shakespeare ’15 had a career-high four points, with three goals and an assist, and was named to the Ivy League honor roll for his performance.
“I think over spring break we dropped a couple that we shouldn’t have to a good Cornell team and Fairfield team but I think we learned a lot about ourselves and had very fixable mistakes that hopefully we can improve on and build off of,” Bonacci said.
The Bulldogs take on Penn at Reese stadium next Friday at 1 p.m.