The men’s lacrosse team opened its season last weekend with a strong 13-8 win against Holy Cross. But though the Bulldogs felt pumped going into this weekend’s matchup, they just couldn’t seem to get on their feet.

The Bulldogs suffered a disappointing 18-6 loss against No. 20 University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass., on Saturday. Though past matchups have ended in Yale’s favor, Saturday’s game saw especially weak play from both Bulldog offense and defense.

“It was basically a waste of a day,” attackman Brendan Gibson ’10 said, “and we only get 13 of them.”

The Minutemen dominated from the beginning, opening the game with four goals in the first 10 minutes. Matt Gibson ’12 and Michael Karwoski ’09 gained two points for Yale in the first half, but the Elis went into halftime down 12-2.

Karwoski said the team had a good warm-up and felt prepared, but started the game flat. He added that the Bulldogs set realistic goals during halftime — at that point, Yale knew their team was not going to quickly overcome the 12-2 lead UMass had over it, but they hoped to chip away at the margin.

Brian Douglass ’11, Mark Dobrosky ’12, Colin Still ’12 and Gibson each scored after the half. And though UMass (2-1) slowed down with only two points gained in the third quarter, they came back with four in the fourth to end the game with a 12 point lead over Yale (1-1, 0-0 Ivy).

Gibson said Yale did not go into the game expecting to get shut down, adding that UMass’ hustle and rough-play contributed to their twelve point lead.

This year’s results proved to be very different from the last two matchups. In 2007, Yale won, 7-6, against a No. 18–ranked UMass. In 2008, the Minutemen were ranked No. 14, and Yale still pulled off a 7-4 victory.

“Things just didn’t work out for us this week,” said Karwoski. “Our offense didn’t produce like it normally does.”

The Bulldogs had the edge in ground balls (40-29) and faceoffs (15 of 25). But they also failed to capitalize on any of their three extra man opportunities. In contrast, the Minutemen took advantage of four of their eight.

Head coach Andy Shay said clearing and turnovers were especially problematic for the Bulldogs on Saturday. He added that the UMass coach, Greg Canella, told Shay that it was the best the his team had played in three years. Saturday’s game was the highest scoring for the Minutemen in four years, since a 18-8 win over Penn State in 2005.

Shay acknowledged, however, that both Yale coaches and players shouldered some of the blame for the loss.

“It was way more about us than it was about them,” Shay said.

Karwoski said that the team will try be trying to forget Saturday’s play as they look ahead to Thursday’s home game against Providence. Shay said it will be a tough week of practice in which the Elis will be concentrating on their clearing game, although some incoming weather may make that difficult.

“We’ve got to get our edge back,” he said.