In one action-packed game, the men’s lacrosse team snapped two four-game losing streaks and shifted the momentum of its season.
After dropping their first four Ivy League contests this season and every meeting with Dartmouth in the past four years, the Bulldogs (6-5, 1-4 Ivy) finally got some retribution at Reese Stadium yesterday afternoon. Following up Sunday’s 18-3 blowout against Manhattan with a 15-12 victory over the Big Green (4-6, 1-3), the Elis are now back above .500 and poised for more success as they head into the final stretch of their season.
[ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”13881″ ]
“We were really excited to get our first Ivy League win, [especially] since we felt like we had deserved to get a few before this,” said captain Chris Kempner ’07, who had three goals and two assists. “They always fight hard and they played really well today, but I thought we outdid them, which was a good feeling.”
In the opening quarter, the two teams played neck-and-neck with one another. Dartmouth momentarily jumped to an early lead with a goal in the first minute of the game, but the Bulldogs responded at the 1:11 mark. Faceoff man Greg Duboff ’08 won the draw following the Big Green tally, and 15 seconds later, midfielder Nick Tsouris ’10 put the ball in the back of the net to equalize the score.
Forty-five seconds later, the score was knotted again at 2-2 after a pair of goals by Dartmouth’s Nick Bonacci and Tyler Casertano ’08, igniting a back-and-forth battle that would characterize the rest of the quarter. Both squads inched forward, tying the game at three, four and five as the period wore on. Then, with seven seconds remaining, Eli forward Brendan Gibson ’10 received a feed from Mike Karwoski ’09 in a man-up situation and dished the ball past Dartmouth goalie Michael Novosel to give the Bulldogs a slight 6-5 edge heading into the second quarter.
That one goal would be all the Bulldogs needed to cling to a lead in an equally exciting second frame. Gibson notched his fourth goal in the first minute, widening Yale’s lead to 7-5. Kyle Washabaugh ’08, Matt Fuchs ’10, Kempner and Karwoski added to the Eli offensive surge, putting the Bulldogs ahead 11-8 at the break.
The Elis maintained a three-goal margin in the third quarter, even in the face of a hungry Dartmouth attack aimed at closing the gap. The Big Green fired 16 shots at goalie George Carafides ’08, but he managed to keep the potent Dartmouth offense to just three goals. And the Bulldog attackers had an answer for each of the tallies, although the third period was Yale’s weakest in several statistical categories. Duboff, who won 16 of 20 faceoffs in the first half, grabbed just two of seven in the third period, and the entire offensive unit put up just six shots.
“We turned the ball over a bit here and there and made some mistakes, but those were mental errors on our part,” Kempner said. “We have to give Dartmouth a lot of credit for the way they played, but those were more a result of us beating ourselves than Dartmouth really pressuring us.”
The trailing Big Green made a final push at the start of the fourth, picking up a goal with 13:38 remaining from midfielder Ryan O’Connor. But the Bulldogs would not relinquish control, and Gibson found the back of the net for a career-high fifth goal a few minutes later to seal the deal. A timeout, a man-up opportunity and three Yale turnovers in the final six minutes could not help the Big Green recover from the 15-12 deficit.
“Our team was celebrating in the locker room,” Karwoski said. “Getting our first Ivy League win of the year is obviously going to bring the morale up. It was all around a great feeling for everybody involved — coaches, players and parents.”
Carafides had 12 saves, and the Eli defense helped contain Dartmouth attackers Nick Bonnaci, Brian Koch and Ari Sussman, who did the bulk of the Big Green’s scoring. In the past few years, Bonnaci and Koch have been part of an offensive line that has done a lot of damage to the Elis, Casertano said before the game.
The Elis were also on target offensively, scoring 15 goals in just 29 attempts. Gibson led the team with five goals, helping the Bulldogs notch the win and shattering the Yale freshman record for goals in a season in the process. With two games left to go, Gibson — who has had a goal in every game this season — already has 29 tallies, three more than the previous record-holder, Eric Zelko ’94.
“We moved the ball around well and got a lot of good scoring chances,” Karwoski said. “Everybody moved well and things just seemed to click.”
The Bulldogs have nine days off before they return to action against historic rival Harvard on April 28.