A preseason replete with early morning runs and afternoon practices is beginning to pay off for the men’s lacrosse team, which finished its prelude to the regular season with a dominating 19-5 victory over Stony Brook University Saturday at the Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium.
The win caps a Bulldogs’ preseason that included defeats of Fairfield, No. 20 Army and No. 21 University of Delaware. Attackmen Mike Scaglione ’03, Brian Hunt ’02 and midfielder Marko Lujic ’02 led the Eli offense with four goals each. Although the Bulldogs were victorious in their previous three contests, the win over Stony Brook is the first game this year in which they have scored in double digits.
“We’ve been better than a lot of teams in the past, but this is the first time we really put a team away,” Scaglione said.
The Bulldogs jumped out to an early lead behind the play of Lujic and Hunt, who earned honorable mention All-America last season. It was not until late in the first half that the Sea wolves were able to get on the board. By the end of the first half the Bulldogs were ahead 10-2.
“We came out fired up, and I think it really showed,” captain Tucker Foote ’02 said.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Elis managed 51 shots, three times as many as their Seawolf counterparts. Under a new offensive strategy that favors a looser, less scripted style of play the Bulldogs have managed 97 shots in their last two games.
“This week we showed we’re a lot more confident with where we need to be on offense,” Foote said. “It was great to see the offense gel.”
In net, goalie Eric Wenzel ’03 stopped seven shots while second-string net minder Roy Skeen ’04 turned aside five Seawolf shots. With the return of starting defenseman Noah Glass ’03 to the lineup and only three Bulldog penalties, the Seawolves had a difficult time finding the back of the net.
“We slid well, we played good man-to-man defense, we shut down their cuts,” assistant coach Darryl Delia said. “Our defense gave us a major boost.”
With their preseason exploits behind them, the Bulldogs will get their first chance to put the preparatory efforts to the test when they travel to Drexel Mar. 3.
The Bulldogs will try to correct last year’s disastrous opening, an 8-7 loss that came after Yale had won its previous three scrimmages. Yale never recovered from the loss, finishing the season tied for third at 3-3 in the Ivy League (6-7 overall).
“We’ve been working for this for a long time, and I think we’re all pretty excited to set things straight,” Scaglione said.
With Princeton, Brown, Cornell and Harvard all ranked in the preseason top 25, the Bulldogs will not have an easy road to their goal for the season, an Ivy League title.
But with two wins against top 25 squads under their belts already, rankings do not have a lot of meaning for the Elis.
“We’re not here to earn respect,” Foote said. “At the end of the day, when the dust settles, we want an Ivy championship.”