This time, there was no late-game nailbiting, no unexpected upset victory and no midfield celebration for the men’s lacrosse team.
Instead, the Princeton Tigers notched their 43rd Ivy League win in the last 44 Ancient Eight contests, avenging their upset loss to Yale last season. Princeton (4-2, 1-0 Ivy) lived up to its No. 3 national ranking, overpowering the No. 16 Bulldogs (4-2, 0-2) 15-5 in front of 1,224 at the Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium Saturday afternoon.
The Elis were unable to find last year’s spark that helped them end Princeton’s Ivy League winning streak at 37 games, just two wins short of the 39-game record set by Cornell.
This time around, early misses by Yale and a lopsided time of possession in Princeton’s favor gave the Tigers their first Ivy League win of the season.
“We gave a good effort and just didn’t execute,” said head coach Darryl Delia. “We thought we would stop them, but it was good shots in the second quarter — when we packed it in down low they were beating us up high.”
Princeton head coach Bill Tierney said while it was impossible to forget Yale’s victory last season, he did not think it had a huge impact on the way his team played this weekend.
“You’re always looking for something, but motivation only takes you so far,” he said. “This is the same group of kids who beat us handily last year, so we hoped we could beat them, but you never expect a win.”
Despite their efforts to force the Tiger attackmen outside and away from the crease, the Elis fell victim to a number of strong shots by Princeton throughout the course of the game. The Tigers ran up a 9-1 lead by the end of the first half, largely because of Brad Dumont’s four goals over the first two quarters. It was a career high for Dumont.
“[Our defensive scheme] involved pressuring the ball-carrier and collapsing into the crease to protect against high-percentage shots,” said defenseman Noah Glass ’03, who returned to the field after sitting out a game with an injury. “Our strategy worked perfectly last year and less well, but still quite well, this year.”
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the lopsided time of possession for the Tigers gave them the opportunity to steadily run up the score throughout the game.
The Elis came out strong early as face-off man Dan Kallaugher ’06 won the first four face-offs and gave Yale a number of chances to score.
“[Kallaugher] has been a juggernaut face-off man this season, greatly improving our team game by increasing our possession time and creating scoring opportunities,” Glass said. “In a game of momentum in which every possession is precious, a skilled face-off man can be the key to victory.”
But despite the opportunities, a series of saves from Princeton netminder Julian Gould stymied Yale’s chances of getting off to an early lead.
“We did a good job early on, but we didn’t bury our goals,” Delia said. “Then Princeton was able to make it 1-nothing, 2-nothing, and it went from there.”
Yale’s lone first-half score came when attackman Scott Kenworthy ’04 passed to middie Ned Britt ’04, who fired a shot from about 10 feet out that passed over Gould’s weak side and put the Bulldogs on the scoreboard.
In the second half, Princeton increased its lead to 13-1 before the Bulldogs responded with three consecutive scores, all of which were a result of fast ball movement up the field. Midfielder DJ Barry ’05 fed the ball to captain Mike Scaglione ’03, who made a great pass to attackman Dan Brillman ’06 to set up Yale’s second goal.
Shortly afterwards, Scaglione and Brillman were again involved in a score, setting up Colin Neville ’06 for the first of his two tallies.
Scaglione later scored a goal of his own after Kenworthy intercepted a pass in the midfield. Seth Goldberg ’05 and Ryan Floyd ’03 helped get the ball to Scaglione, who got it in past Princeton goalie Matthew Larkin.
The Tigers, however, had built an insurmountable lead and added two more scores around Neville’s second goal before the end of the game, bringing the final score to 15-5.
With last season’s MVP, goaltender Eric Wenzel ’03, on the sidelines with his arm in a sling, goalies Roy Skeen ’04 and Dave Wright ’06 turned in good performances against one of the nation’s top teams. Skeen finished with nine saves in three quarters of play, while Wright added five in the fourth quarter.
This Wednesday, the Elis will try to capitalize on early chances and grab their first Ivy victory when they travel to Brown.
“We know we have to come out early and score early on teams,” said Brillman. “We are good enough that if we get an early lead, we can keep it and beat any team.”