Having already defeated No. 20 Army last weekend, the men’s lacrosse team added another victory over a top 25 team to its win column Saturday.
The Bulldogs traveled to No. 21 University of Delaware and returned with a solid 9-7 victory thanks to a balanced offensive effort. Attackman Mike Scaglione ’03 and midfielders Ned Britt ’04 and Marc Perry ’04 each contributed two goals to the Bulldogs’ victory.
Although both wins over ranked opponents have been scrimmages and not regular-season games, Yale assistant coach Darryl Delia said he is pleased with the team’s effort to date.
“We’re very happy with the way they played this weekend both offensively and defensively,” he said. “We’re progressing right where we need to be.”
The Bulldogs also defeated Fairfield in a scrimmage last weekend.
Saturday, a number of the Eli goals resulted from settled six-on-six offense. In contrast to last week, when the team’s strength was transition play, the Bulldogs were able to create space for themselves inside the offensive zone with good off-the-ball movement against Delaware.
“On the offensive side of the ball we had a lot of movement which opened up a lot of easy shots,” said captain Tucker Foote ’02.
Marko Lujic ’02, Scott Kenworthy ’04, and Todd Merchak ’02 scored one each, and Brian Hunt ’02 added two assists.
Perry’s double tally came on the Eli midfielder’s 20th birthday.
The Elis peppered the Delaware goal with 31 shots in the first half and a game total of 50 shots, many of which missed the net by just inches.
“We played consistently and generated a ton of shots,” said Britt, who returned to the field this weekend after recovering from an shoulder injury. “We outplayed them but had trouble finishing our opportunities.”
At the other end of the field, goalie Eric Wenzel ’03 turned aside six shots, and Roy Skeen ’04 made five saves to prevent the Blue Hens from reclaiming their early lead.
The goalie tandem was supported by defensemen Todd Montgomery ’04, Brad Liff ’03, and Nick Krohley ’02 , who contained the Delaware attack and maintain the edge despite increasingly aggressive play by the Blue Hens.
“I thought we showed a lot of toughness out there,” Foote said. “They came out expecting to knock our heads off, but we were the ones running over them all game long.”
Several of the seven goals the Bulldogs gave up came off speedy transition passes by Delaware, but long-stick middie Ned Smith ’03 helped slow down the Blue Hen’s quickness.
“Defensively we played well,” said Delia. “We were physical, didn’t give up too many shots, and cleared the ball well.”
The Bulldogs were also dominant on both groundballs and faceoff percentage, which provided their offense with numerous opportunities and relieved some of the pressure from the defense. This was especially important considering that the team was without two of its starters, attackman Ryan Floyd ’03 and defenseman Noah Glass ’03, both of whom are important parts of the Eli lineup.
“Our team is not that deep to begin with, so to lose two starters puts a strain on everyone,” Britt said. “Luckily, our reserves were able to fill the hole.”
Despite the two promising wins over ranked opponents, the Bulldogs will need to maintain their momentum of improvement before their Mar. 3 season opener against Drexel.
“I really think that we haven’t scratched the surface of this team’s potential,” Foote said. “As long as we keep playing hard in practice and playing our tails off on game day, good things are going to happen.”