The feeling of frustration that filled the men’s lacrosse team and the fans at Johnson Field Saturday afternoon was summed up in a play by long pole Scott Wexler ’07.
With 11 seconds left in the action, Wexler sprinted from the left side of the field to try to stop Cornell’s John Glynn from setting up yet another scoring opportunity for the Big Red. Wexler slammed into Glynn, knocking him down and receiving as a reward a penalty for an illegal body check. At that point, though, Wexler may have felt that there was not much else he could do.
The No. 10 Big Red (3-2, 1-0 Ivy) dominated the Elis (3-2, 1-1 Ivy) in the 15-6 loss. Led by Kevin Nee’s four goals and one assist, the Big Red offense was able to outshoot the Bulldogs 45-32 to put a tremendous amount of pressure on goalkeeper George Carafides ’08, who finished with 16 saves. The Elis attempted to limit the Big Red’s scoring blitz with tough, patient defense but shot themselves in the foot by giving up 29 turnovers compared to Cornell’s 14.
“We were horrible from the beginning to the end,” Yale head coach Andy Shay said. “We didn’t play like we normally do. They are a great team and if you keep giving the ball back to them they are going to score.”
Coming into the Ivy home opener, Shay said the team needed to finish their shots and win face-offs in order to have a shot at winning. Dan Kallaugher ’06 helped the Elis control one facet of that battle by winning 17 of 23 face-offs.
But the possessions Kallaugher won for the Elis often resulted in little. A strong Cornell defense headed up by Dave Bush and Mike Pisco awaited the Bulldog attack and forced them to the perimeter, tried to disrupt passing and cradling, and gave the Elis little room to dodge. The Big Red also made it hard for the Bulldogs to finish shots by blocking them and creating traffic in front of the crease.
The Elis’ best attempts on offense came in the first half when attackman Dan Brillman ’06 orchestrated some scoring opportunities from behind the cage. Twice Brillman caught a pass from the left side before feeding the ball to one of his teammates on the right side who shot and found the back of the net. The first time, Brillman tossed the ball to Seth Goldberg ’05 in motion and Goldberg took it and slammed it past the Big Red netminder Matt McMonagle. The second time, Brillman found Tyler Casertano ’08. Casertano caught the quick redirect, paused, and nailed his shot. Casertano’s goal put the Bulldogs up 2-1, the last time the Elis were to have the lead.
Brillman said the Bulldogs’ offense did not click at all after the first period.
“They threw a lot of defenses at us,” Brillman said. “We didn’t have the ball enough and didn’t get enough chances.”
Brillman finished with three assists and an unassisted goal to lead the Elis in points.
Casertano, who finished with two goals, said the speed and talent of the Big Red squad made things difficult for the Elis.
“We forced things when we shouldn’t have,” he said. “Their athleticism caused us some problems and made us make some poor decisions.”
Some of the poor decisions Casertano mentioned led to turnovers, which gave the quick Big Red chances to run the field and score. Defenseman Ian Cadieu ’06 said the Elis played well in 6-on-6 defense but had trouble on quick brakes and man-down situations.
“We need to recognize transitions and communicate better,” Cadieu said. “We can play versus dodgers fine, but they were finding the open guy who was moving faster than we can. And they made all their shots.”
Despite the relentless attack from Cornell that came up with 15 goals, Shay said Carafides played well in the net.
“He bailed us out a bunch of times, but there was way too much pressure on him,” Shay said.
Carafides said the team did not come out and play the way they have been playing against Quinnipiac and Penn, both solid wins for the Elis.
“We just didn’t come out as intense,” he said. “When they started to pick up ground balls and started getting transition goals, we had problems. We didn’t play how we wanted to.”
The Bulldogs return to action Tuesday when they host in-state rival Hartford.
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