A promising spring break ended on a low note for the men’s lacrosse team, which dropped its latest game in disappointing fashion.
After a strong 17-15 win over Penn State in Florida, the nationally ranked No. 14 Elis (3-1, 0-1 Ivy) returned home and defeated Quinnipiac, 14-8, before falling to No. 15 Cornell 16-8 in its Ivy League opener.
“Obviously, I wish we came out of the break being 4-0 instead of 3-1,” captain Mike Scaglione ’03 said. “We put in a real good performance against Penn State, and then we won a game that we were supposed to win against Quinnipiac. We just didn’t play all that well on Saturday.”
As they had done against Quinnipiac a week before, the Bulldogs fell behind early. But unlike the game against the Bobcats, the deficit was too great and the opponent too strong to come back.
The Big Red scored the first eight goals, three by Dave Pittard, before the Elis finally responded just three minutes before halftime on a goal by Scott Kenworthy ’04 assisted by Scaglione. But Cornell continued to dominate the Bulldogs, extending its lead to 12-1 midway through the third quarter.
“They’ve done that to us every year since I’ve been here,” said defenseman Todd Montgomery ’04, referring to last season’s game with the Big Red in which Cornell gained an 8-0 lead. “They seem to come out firing, and everything was clicking for them immediately. It took us awhile to warm up, and by that point it was too late.”
The Bulldogs had trouble executing in the new systems they were running and dropped their first Ivy contest. Meanwhile, Cornell’s Andrew Collins had a career day, tallying eight assists and a goal on the day.
The loss overshadowed what had been a successful break otherwise. The Elis traveled to Florida for a week and defeated Penn State, ranked higher than Yale at the time.
Eight Bulldogs scored in the contest, but despite two first-half goals by Scaglione and contributions from five other Elis, Yale entered halftime trailing the Nittany Lions 9-8. The game was tied seven times before halftime alone.
The second half was more of the same, with the score deadlocked four more times before Scaglione and Pat Moylan ’03 brought Yale ahead with late goals to break a 15-15 tie. Scaglione finished with four goals and three assists, and Seth Goldberg recorded three goals and two helpers.
Goaltender Roy Skeen ’04 recorded a career-high 20 saves in the victory, and the Yale defense did a good job of holding PSU scoreless at the end of the game.
“Our team demonstrated a lot of heart and a lot of guts and just kept fighting,” Scaglione said. “We came out in the second half and played very calm and stayed within ourselves, and we got the win.”
Ned Britt ’04, who added two goals in the win, noted Yale’s training allowed the Elis to outlast the Lions in the close game.
“Our superior condition and relentless pressure, both on offense and defense, enabled us to pull out a crucial victory,” he said.
Last weekend, the Bulldogs faced crosstown rival Quinnipiac and got off to a slow start. But the Elis overpowered the Bobcats, whose squad is comprised of nearly all freshmen. After allowing the Bobcats a 5-2 lead, the Bulldogs turned on the pressure and responded with 10 unanswered goals, including three by Britt.
“It was a frustrating start,” Montgomery said. “A few missed assignments early, and it’s never good to come back like that.”
Bobcat goaltender Bob Prota was forced to make 25 saves, but the Bulldogs shot wide on a number of occasions and failed to pressure him as much as possible. Yale took a staggering 75 shots against Quinnipiac.
“What surprised me about the Quinnipiac game was the amount of unforced errors and poor shots we took,” Britt said. “We totally dominated the game, but the score tells otherwise.”
With games coming up against Holy Cross Tuesday and No. 7 Princeton Saturday, the Bulldogs do not have too much time to dwell on the Cornell loss and will look to tighten their execution and eliminate unforced errors.