Underclassmen have been integral in the Eli offense that has powered the Yale men’s lacrosse team to a 4-0 start to the season. But on Saturday it was the elders of the frontline — attacker Seth Goldberg ’05 and captain Scott Kenworthy ’04 — that did the most damage against the University of Pennsylvania in the Bulldogs’ first league game.
Goldberg had a career outing with six goals and one assist while Kenworthy tallied four goals. The two combined for four goals in the final quarter. Yale (4-0, 1-0 Ivy) outscored the Quakers (2-3, 0-1) 6-4 in the fourth for the 15-11 victory.
“[Goldberg] was in the zone today and made some great moves,” first-year Yale head coach Andy Shay said. “We had a balanced attack with six different players scoring goals.”
Kenworthy said that a lot of the Eli goals came from hectic plays.
“Seth [Goldberg] is very good at finding open spaces in front of the goal, especially in unsettled situations,” Kenworthy said. “Basically, we were in the right place at the right time and took advantage of the shot opportunities they gave us. There were a lot of goals off broken situations, where the ball would be on the ground at our end, and we would get the ground ball and find someone open in front of the cage.”
Goldberg deflected praise for his efforts and said that the team’s ball movement was most important in the offensive explosion.
“We were moving the ball really well,” he said. “It’s when we play individually that we get in trouble and don’t reach our potential. We worked off-ball really well. I was getting open on back door cuts and the middies got me the ball.”
Though neither squad was ranked in the top twenty of the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Coaches’ Poll, Penn received more votes than Yale.
“I don’t consider our win an upset,” Goldberg said. “Last year, they beat us pretty bad [10-7], and we really should not have lost that game. For those who had been there during last year’s loss, we wanted to show that that was not the team we are this year. We really were pissed off at our loss last year, and I think it showed yesterday.”
Though Yale took a 5-4 lead into the half, Penn outshot the Elis 44-38 and managed to tie the score at seven. Five straight Eli scores gave the Bulldogs control of the contest.
Kenworthy said the Penn rally did not fluster the team.
“I think the key is just to stay calm,” Kenworthy said. “After coming from behind to win in the last couple of minutes against Drexel and Butler, we know that we can win games in the fourth quarter. You just need to make sure everyone keeps their composure and sticks to the gameplan.”
Penalties hurt the Bulldogs as the Quakers converted five-of-seven extra-man chances.
“Our penalty minutes are just way too high,” Goldberg said. “Teams will take advantage of that. Penn did [Saturday]. Our defense played solid when they were six on six, but you can’t be man down too much — it just kills you.”
Despite the offensive successes of the upperclassmen, Yale’s sophomore class did not lag far behind. Attacker Daniel Brillman ’06 had two goals and three assists. Attacker Marcus Ruopp ’06 and midfielder David Schecter ’06 also netted goals for Yale.
“There’s definitely a lot of youth [on offense],” Goldberg said. “[But] most of these guys have played since they’ve been freshmen.”
Yale graduated last season’s leading goal-scorer and captain, Mike Scaglione ’03, so members of this year’s squad have had to pick up some of that slack.
“I would say that [our] offense can become one of the best in the country,” Brillman said. “[Scaglione] is one of the most talented players I have had a chance to play with and he is definitely missed, but another good player has to step into that role. Eventually one of us hopefully will become another Scaglione.”
Defensively, Jordan Ellis ’07 has been impressive in the cage. Ellis stopped a season-high 18 shots against the Quakers. Ellis has been starting ahead of last year’s starting goalie Roy Skeen ’04.
“Jordan Ellis is phenomenal,” Goldberg said. “He had some unbelievable saves. He sees the ball really well. It’s been a battle between all the goalies in the preseason. [Ellis] got the nod for the first game and he’s been playing well. Right now we’re sticking with him.”
Yale will play at Cornell, one of last season’s Ivy League tri-champions in Ithaca, NY this Saturday.