In a game that featured sloppy play under bright lights and a steady downpour, the men’s lacrosse team’s late rally was not enough as the Bulldogs fell to Brown 9-8 last night at the field hockey stadium.
With the exception of the final four minutes of the game, the No. 13 Bulldogs (4-2, 2-2 Ivy) looked flat footed on the drenched turf field, failing to mount any serious offensive attack.
The loss to No. 20 Brown (3-4, 1-0 Ivy), knocks the Bulldogs to fourth in the Ivy League just one game after their historic upset over defending NCAA champion Princeton.
“It’s crippling,” said attackman Scott Kenworthy ’04 about the loss. “With two losses, we’re going to need some luck to make it into the NCAA tournament.”
As the mercury fell and a steady rain changed to sleet and then back to rain, players had a difficult time controlling their passes and footing.
“The weather made things difficult, but both teams were playing in it,” Yale head coach Mike Waldvogel said. “Brown came ready to play, we didn’t.”
With 23 seconds to play in the game and Yale trailing 9-8, the Bulldogs had one final chance to send the game to overtime.
However, in a moment emblematic of the Elis’ fortunes throughout the night, Brown attackman Ryan Culligan picked off net minder Eric Wenzel’s ’03 outlet pass and the Bears stalled for the victory.
“I thought if we had gotten that ball upfield, it would have been another goal,” midfielder Marko Lujic ’02 said.
As time ticked off the clock late in the fourth quarter, it seemed Brown would not have to worry about a repeat of their weekend overtime loss to No. 1 Syracuse, in which the Bears blew a four-goal lead late in regulation.
But midfielder Ned Britt ’04 scored the Elis’ first goal in two quarters with less than seven minutes remaining in the game. Britt, who led the Elis with three goals on the night, collected a pass from midfielder Patrick Moylan ’03 and cycled to the right of the goal before firing a shot that beat Brown goaltender Mike Levin to the low right post.
The Elis added two more goals before Brown turned the ball over on offense, giving Yale another opportunity to close the deficit. After a scrum in front of the crease Britt emerged with the ball and fed Kenworthy, who rocketed a shot over Levin’s right shoulder from 20 feet out, making the score 9-8.
“We only played four minutes of good lacrosse,” Lujic said. “It was too little, too late.”
Before the Bulldogs had to play catch up, they threatened to turn the tables on Brown with 13 minutes to go in the first half. Britt gathered the ball 20 feet from the cage and ran to his right before unleashing a shot that beat Levin over the shoulder to tie the game at four.
Brown responded six minutes later when Bears attackman Jonathan Thompson started from behind the Eli net and blew by midfielder Blake Beachler ’02 from the right side of the goal, burying the ball in the upper right corner.
Thompson’s tally began a five-goal run for the Bears as they dominated the next 30 minutes, feeding off of Yale’s dropped passes and sloppy play on ground balls.
“We got a couple breaks in the end but our offense was there from the start,” Brown head coach Scott Nelson said.
The breaks kept coming for the Bears as they capped their five-goal run with the game-winning tally just over seven minutes into the final period.
From Wenzel’s right side, Thompson fed midfielder Jimmy Mormile in the slot 20 feet in front of the Eli netminder. Mormile faked a pass before rifling a bounce shot between Wenzel’s legs.
With the Ivy League title now further removed from Yale’s grasp, the Bulldogs have three days to recover in time for No. 8 Duke (4-3).
“We’re still in the hunt,” Waldvogel said. “The toughest part now is playing a full 60 minutes of lacrosse. If we can get our heads together and play our game, we can play with anybody.”