On a hot and humid day in North Carolina, the men’s lacrosse team showed it could play even with top-ranked opponents. But once again, the Elis were unable to pull ahead for the win.

After losing close games to Brown and No. 14 Cornell in the past two weeks, the Bulldogs (3-5, 1-3) fell in another tight match. Yale dropped its fourth straight contest Sunday, a10-8 loss to No. 16 Duke (7-4) at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C.

Attackman Alex Lieske led the Blue Devils with two goals and two assists. On the opposite end of the field, Duke goalie Matt Breslin stymied the Yale offense with 18 saves.

“He [Breslin] made some incredible saves,” Ned Britt ’04 said. “We thought we outplayed them on the offensive end, and if a couple of those shots had gone in, it would have made the difference.”

Despite Breslin’s strong play, Britt and Brian Hunt ’02 were able to break down the defense and score two goals apiece. Hunt, who leads the Ivy League in scoring, also had two assists. Ryan Floyd ’03, Scott Kenworthy ’04, Mike Morris ’01 and Mike Scaglione ’03 combined for the remaining four goals.

But, as happened against Cornell and Brown, the Elis allowed several goals early and spent the rest of the game catching up.

“We have to start coming out stronger,” Brad Liff ’03 said. “And we need to concentrate on finishing out a win.”

After falling behind 5-0 in the second quarter, Britt put Yale on the scoreboard with a shot that slipped by Breslin. Morris added another point less than a minute later.

In the third quarter, Duke fired two more goals past Yale goalie Adam Oppenheimer ’02, before Yale regained control. Kenworthy scored on a feed from Hunt to start the Bulldogs on a three-goal run. Two minutes later, Hunt found Floyd in front of the goal to close the gap to 7-5.

After a Duke goal, Britt found the back of the net for the second time, bringing the Elis within two at the end of the quarter.

With 11:20 remaining in the game, Hunt scored his first goal to cut Duke’s lead to one. But the Elis would get no closer.

Duke tallied two more goals before Hunt scored the Bulldogs’ final goal on a Yale extra-man advantage.

Hunt’s tally was the only time Yale capitalized in a man-up situation. The Bulldogs went one for seven in six minutes of man-advantage play, while the Blue Devils failed to score on their lone advantage opportunity.

“Man-ups are usually one of our strong points,” Britt said. “But we really struggled with it.”

The Bulldogs also had a rough time with face-offs and groundballs, losing 15-5 and 43-24, respectively.

“On face-offs and groundballs, we’re putting in the effort, and we’re doing as good a job as we’ve ever done,” Liff said. “Obviously, we need to get better.”

The Elis are looking to rebound on Wednesday when they host the struggling Albany Danes (1-5).

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