Attacker Seth Goldberg ’05, the Yale men’s lacrosse team’s leading scorer, had uncharacteristic trouble finding the back of the net all afternoon yesterday against Army.

When he finally did, the goal — the potential game-tying goal — was waved off by the referees. Time had expired, and the No. 12 Black Knights narrowly escaped with a 14-13 victory at Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium. The loss was Yale’s third in a row.

With just 1:22 remaining in the fourth quarter, Army’s Jim Wagner fired a waist-high shot past goalkeeper Jordan Ellis ’06 to break the 13-all tie. The goal — Wagner’s sixth of the game — came only eight seconds after Yale had erased a three-goal deficit.

“We played hard to the end,” Yale head coach Andy Shay said. “We didn’t give up; we just fell a little short.”

The game, which featured five ties and two lead changes, was back-and-forth from the start. Yale and Army traded goals twice to begin the contest before Eli attacker Colin Neville ’06 and midfielder Ned Britt ’04 scored back-to-back to put the Bulldogs ahead, 4-2. The Bulldogs would go up by as many as three goals in the first half, but the Black Knights proved resilient, scoring four of the half’s final five goals to even the score at the break, 8-8.

The second half was more of the same cat-and-mouse game, except in the final two quarters, when the Bulldogs were doing the chasing.

Jake Couch tallied at 12:20 in the third to give Army its first lead of the game. He added to it nearly two minute later with his third goal on the afternoon. Yale responded with two goals of its own, only to receive three more retorts from Army.

At 13-10 with a little more than six minutes left, the Black Knights appeared to have put the game away. But the Bulldogs responded again goal-for-goal, with scores from attackers Dan Brillman ’06 and captain Scott Kenworthy ’04 and Britt, until they pulled even at 13. Wagner then scored the game-winner.

“We played pretty well, really well in spurts, but that has been our problem,” midfielder Christian Jensen ’06 said. “We lost focus sometimes and let the game slip away from us.”

Yale’s Jordan Ellis ’07 had 14 saves, including some outstanding stops in the second half, while Matt Darak made 11 for the Black Knights.

Despite Ellis’ effort, neither he nor any Bulldog could stop Wagner, who has 31 goals this season, including yesterday’s six.

“Jimmy [Wagner] was fantastic,” Army Head Coach Jack Emmer said. “He was the most valuable player of our offense.”

The Bulldogs’ offensive MVP yesterday was less predictable. Goldberg, who was averaging a hat trick coming into yesterday’s contest, was held scoreless. Instead, it was offense by committee for the Elis. Britt had five goals and two assists while midfielder David Schecter ’06, Kenworthy and Brillman had two goals apiece.

“Seth [Goldberg] is a great player,” Jensen said. “Teams know about him now and know to guard him. But we have other guys that can score too.”

In the future, the Bulldogs will need Goldberg as well as the rest of the offense to score if they hope to get out of the slump in which they find themselves.

“We have to try and stay positive,” Shay said. “We never give up. We showed that [yesterday].”

Yale next hosts Brown Saturday at Soccer Lacrosse Stadium.

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