After going down by three goals early in the first quarter, the No. 14 men’s lacrosse team scored eight straight goals in a 20-minute span en route to a 16–10 victory against Dartmouth. Ten different players contributed goals for the Bulldogs (6–3, 2–2 Ivy), helping Yale even its conference record and move into third place, while the Big Green (1–6, 0–3 Ivy) remained winless in its last four games.
“I think this was a great team win for us,” midfielder Mark Glicini ’16 said. “Although going down three certainly wasn’t expected, we fought back and that says a lot about this year’s team. We are going to have to keep working at it during the week and make sure that going down early does not become a habit, but Saturday’s performance was a great overall effort in a must-win game.”
Yale’s opponent flew out of the gate, scoring on three of its first eight shots to stun the Elis. However, the Bulldogs mounted a comeback thanks to clinical finishing during man-up opportunities. Going into the game, Yale had scored only six goals with man advantages, but scored on all five of Dartmouth’s penalties on the afternoon. Half of the Bulldogs’ eight-goal run came in man-up situations, including two from attackman J.W. McGovern ’16, who now has five goals and nine points in his last four games.
The Bulldogs cut Dartmouth’s lead down to one by the end of the first quarter before attackman Jeff Cimbalista ’17 tied the game five minutes into the second quarter. The team’s leading scorer, attackman Conrad Oberbeck ’15, put the Elis in front with his second goal of the game just 13 seconds later. Yale added four more tallies in the next 10 minutes before Dartmouth found a response in the third quarter.
The Big Green stayed within three or four goals of Yale until late in the fourth quarter. Midfielder Sean Shakespeare ’15 scored the eventual game-winning 11th goal just three minutes into the final frame. The junior dodged down the left ally before stopping, causing his defender to fall down. He then cut back inside before unleashing a shot that found the back on the goal.
The Elis added six in the last period, including a hat trick from midfielder Shane Thornton ’15. The sniper blasted two shots by the Dartmouth goaltender, the first coming when the midfielder was left wide open after a poorly timed defensive substitution and the second coming off a skip pass from Shakespeare. Thornton completed his 10-minute hat trick on the man advantage with the Big Green’s goalie pulled. The junior added an assist for a career-high four-point game.
Yale’s midfielders, including Thornton and Shakespeare, had a huge day, scoring nine goals and assisting on eight others. Michael Bonacci ’16 had two goals and three points, Colin Flaherty ’15 and Mark Glicini ’16 each had a goal and an assist to lead the charge.
“The midfield scoring was definitely a little bit higher than normal, but their close defense was pushing out and preventing the attack from getting the ball and this made it a lot easier for midfielders to get good looks at goal,” Bonacci said.
Key to the Bulldogs’ win was a dominant performance by the Eli’s premier face-off specialist: Dylan Levings ’14. The senior lost the first three restarts of the game, but then dominated, winning nine straight face-offs and finishing 21-for-28 on the afternoon. Levings improved his winning percentage to 0.576, good for second best in the Ivy League.
On defense, goaltender Eric Natale ’15 continued his fine play, stopping 10 shots for his seventh game with double-digit saves. The junior had seven saves in the final two quarters of play, helping Yale preserve the lowest goals against average in the Ivy League.
“Eric has played great the last two games and has bailed out the defense on multiple occasions,” defenseman Michael Quinn ’16 said. “He’s been crucial to our success and has continued to improve as the season’s gone on.”
One note of concern for the Elis was an uncharacteristic performance in transition. The Bulldogs successfully cleared the ball on 16 of their 21 opportunities, a rather poor 76 percent for a team that had averaged seventh in the nation at 91 percent through seven games. Yale again committed a large number of turnovers — 20 — marking the fourth time this year the Bulldogs have given up the ball 19 or more times. The Elis are third best in the conference, averaging just over 15 turnovers a game.
“From every game here on out we are going to need to bring great effort and execution for 60 minutes,” Bonacci said. “If we do that I think we will be very happy with the outcome.”
The Bulldogs play their third and final game in Rhode Island this Friday against Brown. Face-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.