The men’s lacrosse team headed to Amherst, Mass., to face another national powerhouse, but the undefeated Minutemen were too strong to overcome.
No. 4 University of Massachusetts (9-0) defeated the Bulldogs (4-6, 1-3) 14-7 at the Richard F. Garber Field Saturday.
For the first 15 minutes, the teams played evenly, and a Yale upset seemed possible. In the opening quarter, the Minutemen combined for two quick goals, but Yale’s Blake Beachler ’02 responded with one of his own. The stingy Eli defense contained the nation’s top scoring offense, keeping Yale in the contest.
But the Bulldogs’ luck did not last.
In the second period, the Massachusetts attack exploded for five unanswered goals. The Minutemen scored on their first possession and increased their lead to 4-1 two minutes later.
“In the first quarter, both teams came out flat,” Mike Morris ’01 said. “But in the second, UMass came out with a lot more energy. They blatantly outshot us all day, and it started in the second quarter.”
With 3:36 remaining in the half, the Minutemen erupted and found the back of the net three times in 35 seconds. During this scoring run, Massachusetts won every faceoff and were able to convert them into quick goals. Minuteman Jeff Seals — eighth in the nation for faceoff winning percentage — took the faceoffs and his team went 16 for 24 for the game.
“Not being able to control the faceoffs was tough,” Todd Merchak ’02 said. “They executed well and got some fastbreaks. We didn’t play as well as we needed to yesterday.”
After the half, the Minuteman scored twice to take an eight-point lead.
The Elis struck back with just under 11 minutes left in the third quarter. Brian Hunt ’02 scored the first of his three goals of the day. But Massachusetts’s Rich Kunkel, who had a game-high six goals, matched Hunt’s goal to put his team up 10-2.
The see-saw battle continued, with the Elis and Minutemen continuing to trade goals until the start of the fourth quarter, when Massachusetts reeled off three straight goals in 35 seconds to stretch their lead to 14-4.
The Bulldogs made a late comeback, with Scott Kenworthy ’04, Edward Britt ’04 and Hunt scoring in the last five minutes of play.
“We buried ourselves in a hole that we couldn’t get out of,” Morris said. “We ended the game well by getting better shots and handling transitions better, but it was too little too late.”
The Elis struggled to control the ball and had few offensive opportunities.
“Possession was the name of the game,” Morris said. “In the second and third quarters, they dominated. They were controlling the ball and scoring. We were not getting many shots.”
The Minutemen outshot the Elis 59-35 and were also aided by the strong play of goalie Chris Campolettano, who made 15 saves in the game.
The Bulldogs will have a chance to redeem themselves and improve their Ivy record when they play Dartmouth (3-5, 0-2) Wednesday. The Big Green lost to Cornell 10-5 Saturday and is still in search of its first Ivy win.