The men’s lacrosse team went into Saturday’s contest against defending Ivy League Champion Princeton with a game plan and for the first 20 minutes, the Bulldogs executed it to perfection.
Using a deliberate style on attack, Yale was able to control possession and at halftime, found itself with a one-goal lead over the No. 7 team in the nation. But in the second half, it was Princeton that was able to execute, scoring seven straight goals and rallying for the 12-9 win at Class of 1952 Stadium.
The loss marked the Bulldogs’ second in a row after starting the season 4-0.
“In the first half, we were patient on offense,” attacker Seth Goldberg ’05 said. “We didn’t rush. We took our time and got quality shots. In the second half, they got going and we didn’t stick to our game, and the game got away from us.”
The Bulldogs, coming off an emotional 10-6 loss to then-No. 12 Cornell March 27 in Ithaca, appeared determined from the start this Saturday. Despite being down 2-0 and 4-2 in the first quarter, Yale shutout the Tigers in the second quarter and scored three times to go into the break ahead, 5-4.
“We came out strong in the first half,” Goldberg said. “We were tougher than they were and we outplayed them.”
The Bulldogs continued their outstanding effort early into the second half. Just eight seconds in, Goldberg scored to give Yale a two-goal lead.
Then, the game took a drastic turn. At the apex of the Bulldogs’ momentum, junior attacker Jason Doneger, the Tigers’ leading scorer, tallied twice to start a stretch of seven straight Princeton goals.
Doneger and fellow attacker Jason Boyle, a senior, combined for five goals and five assists.
“We knew Princeton was not going to go down easily,” Goldberg said. “Once they got going, we had a hard time stopping them and we started to rush our shots.”
The Tigers led 9-6 at the end of the third quarter before scoring two more goals to open the fourth. Yale would get no closer than three the rest of the way.
Goldberg scored three times to lead the Bulldogs. Attacker Ned Britt ’04 and midfielder Dan Brillman ’06 contributed two goals apiece, while Colin Neville ’06 and Christian Jensen ’06 tallied as well.
Goldberg, the team’s leading scorer with 18, has quickly emerged this spring as Yale’s top offensive threat. Saturday’s hat trick was the second consecutive for the 5-foot-10-inch attacker.
“Seth has been incredible for us,” defender Gray Eklund ’06 said. “He’s been dropping three goals a game, and it’s nice to have a scorer who is so reliable. He makes it easier for the defense to know if we make a mistake, he can bail us out.”
The second half had a similar tone to last weekend’s game against the Big Red. At least for the first half in Princeton, Yale seemed to have had rid itself of its scoring woes.
“In the second half, it was a lot of what happened in the Cornell game,” Eklund said. “We didn’t execute. We weren’t doing what we did in the first half.”
Despite the loss, the Bulldogs remain optimistic.
“We showed we could compete,” Goldberg said. “We just have to play 60 minutes of our game. If we did that against Princeton, I think we could have won.”
Yale next hosts No. 12 Army Wednesday at Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium.
News and Notes: In 2002, the last time Yale played at Class of 1952 Stadium, the Bulldogs defeated Princeton 13-11, snapping the Tigers’ 37-game Ivy League win streak. Boyle, who recorded five assists in the game, moved into second place all-time at Princeton with 134, 40 away from record-holder Kevin Lowe.