Early in the third quarter, with Albany clinging to a tenuous one-goal lead following a back-and-forth first half, Brett Queener raced the ball up field. Before reaching the midline he was slugged by Brendan Gibson ’10, Yale’s standout rookie attackman, inciting a man-up situation for the Great Danes. Twenty-six seconds later, Queener scored to double Albany’s lead.

It might not have been so noteworthy — a great hustle followed by a piece of fine marksmanship — were it not for the fact that Queener is a goalie.

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On the strength of the versatile Queener, who drew five Yale penalties, and a swarm of dynamic attackmen, No. 2 Albany (10-0, 3-0 America East) topped Yale (4-5, 0-4 Ivy), 12-10, last night under the lights at Reese Stadium.

Yale’s men’s lacrosse team battled doggedly, even leading, 5-4, after the first quarter, but could not quite keep pace with an offense that averages nearly 14 goals per game.

“We went toe-to-toe with the No. 2 team in the country tonight,” Yale coach Andy Shay said after the game. “Our guys fought their hearts out, and I’m incredibly proud of them. They have absolutely no quit in them.”

After falling behind, 2-1, in the opening frame, a fine show of grit and vision by Gibson got Yale rolling. With multiple players from both teams scrambling for a ground ball along the sidelines as if it were a fumble, Gibson won the race. He heaved a near-blind pass to Tyler Casertano ’08, who was able to relay the ball to a wide-open Mike Karwoski ’09 as the Albany defenders were caught upfield. Displaying the same deft stickwork that delights the Ingalls Rink crowd each winter, Karwoski fooled Queener with three dekes to tie the score.

After two quick Albany goals, midfielder Kyle Washabaugh ’08, the 6-foot-7 sniper who generally parks himself on about the three-point line and rips his 100 mph underhand shot toward the cage, used his scoring reputation as a decoy, finding captain Chris Kempner ’07 in a vacant spot beside Queener for the second of his three goals in the game.

“When I wind up, most of the defense expects a shot,” said Washabaugh, who looked at times like Shaquille O’Neal passing out of a double-team. “A lot of the time the defense will start ball-watching and that’ll leave other guys open.”

Seventy-seven seconds later Gibson tied the game with a Washabaugh-like shot, and just before the close of the quarter Washabaugh shoved in the go-ahead goal with two ankle-biting defensemen draped all over him.

“It was kind of a tough feed in the middle of traffic,” Washabaugh said. “I just did my best to get it out and on goal. I didn’t see it myself, but I guess it worked out. It was ugly, though.”

When Albany responded with the tying goal early in the second quarter, Yale goalie George Carafides ’08 called a conference with defensemen Mark Schlam ’09 and Pat Grimm ’08.

It didn’t help. Merrick Thompson (three goals) and Corey Small (two) added goals in the next two minutes to reopen a two-goal lead. Thompson beat Carafides from in front of the cage, Small from Washabaugh range.

Yale made one last push when down, 9-6, in the third quarter. After Kempner whipped a hard, high shot past Queener to rouse the Elis from their conspicuous mid-game lull, the entire offense contributed to the eighth goal. Casertano, starting at Queener’s right, dished to James Ryan ’09, who relayed a crossing pass around to Kempner, who completed the semi-circle by finding an open Gibson to Queener’s left. Midfielder Greg DuBoff ’08, Yale’s faceoff man, evened the score 7 seconds later when he picked up the draw, darted downfield and fired an off-balance shot that caught Queener still pondering Gibson’s tally.

But Albany’s Frank Resitarits, who led the nation in scoring a year ago, scored his 27th goal (and 43rd point) of the season in the waning seconds of the third quarter to deflate the home underdogs. Early in the fourth quarter, another rush by Queener led to Albany’s 11th goal.

“The biggest way they scored their goals was in the transition game,” Carafides said. “I thought six-on-six we played real well. With [Queener], the rush is a lot quicker.”

The antics of Queener, who wields a short stick and plays attack in man-up situations, overshadowed a sterling performance by Carafides (nine saves) and drew the ire of Yale players and coaches, who had to censor their comments about him following the game. The pugnacious and outspoken Queener now has four career goals as an attackman, to go with countless uncalled unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

Reeling from five losses in the last six games, the Bulldogs catch a break on Sunday with a home contest against lightly regarded Manhattan College before resuming Ivy League play Wednesday against Dartmouth.