They may have fallen in the national rankings, but yesterday afternoon at Albany, N.Y., the men’s lacrosse team proved that they still know what it takes to beat Division I cellar-dwellers.
The offense was sloppy at times, but the No. 14 Bulldogs (5-3) managed to make up for recent close losses to No. 12 Duke and No. 19 Brown with a 13-7 win over Albany State (4-6).
In a season where the Bulldogs hoped to finish atop the Ivy League and are now fighting for an at-large NCAA berth, the win against the Great Danes was reassuring.
“It’s important to get back on track,” defenseman Nick Krohley ’02 said. “I don’t know how much we can project this win onto future games, but it feels good to come out of there with a win.”
Attackman Mike Scaglione ’03 had the golden stick for the Bulldogs. Scaglione matched a career high with six goals and two assists. At the other end of the field, goaltender Eric Wenzel ’03 bounced back from an uninspired performance against Duke with 14 saves.
“We have the kind of offense where it could be me one day and someone else the other day,” said Scaglione, who leads the team with 33 points. “I was able to score six because my teammates were playing so well.”
The Bulldogs opened the contest with their most potent offensive outburst of the season since a four-goal spurt in the last eight minutes against Brown.
Less than five minutes into the game, Yale built a three-goal lead against Albany. The Elis maintained their three-goal margin for the next 15 minutes, when Albany pulled within two goals at 4-2 and threatened to swing the momentum in their favor.
But the Great Danes’ sudden offensive surge was not a concern for the Elis.
“Everyone realize we still had 30 minutes to play and we could win if we did the things we needed to do,” captain Tucker Foote ’02 said. “There was no sense of panic.”
Instead of succumbing to the same pressures that frustrated Yale’s efforts against Duke and Brown, the Bulldogs responded with three goals in the final four minutes.
Scaglione notched his third goal of the game when he collected a pass and rifled a shot inside the left post, past Albany netminder Kevin Rae, who finished the contest with 13 saves.
Foote capped the three-goal run with a man-up tally to give Yale a 7-2 cushion at the half.
Albany’s next threat to the Eli lead came 9:58 into the final period when attackman Jon Smith beat Wenzel on a shot to cut the lead to 10-6.
Midfielder Marko Lujic ’02 and attackman Ryan Floyd ’03 scored 85 seconds apart to end all hopes of an Albany rally.
The win against the Great Danes comes at a crucial time for the Bulldogs as they prepare for their final stretch of games against ranked opponents, starting with No. 8 the University of Massachusetts (8-1) Saturday afternoon at the Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium.
“Our problems are all mental right now,” Krohley said. “We have the players, we have the schemes, we just have to put it all together.”