After a tough spring break schedule against some of the nation’s elite teams, the men’s lacrosse team resumed classes with a 9-7 victory against Hartford on Tuesday at Alumni Stadium in West Hartford, Conn.

Attackman Michael Karwoski ’09 led the Bulldogs (4-3, 1-1 Ivy) on offense with three goals and an assist, while stand-out freshmen Matt Gibson ’12 and Greg Mahony ’12 each scored twice.

Johnathan Falcone ’11 made 16 saves in net for his fourth win of the season.

The Elis bucked a nagging tendency to dig themselves deficits early in games by building a 3-0 lead early in the second quarter. The Hawks (0-7), who have lost five games by a combined eight goals, hung around all game, but a Matt Gibson goal with 6:48 left in the fourth quarter gave his team a 9-6 lead, sealing the victory for the Elis.

“They had some great athletes and some good players,” captain and defenseman Matt Aronson ’09 said. “It was good that we were able to stay on top and finish it off with a win.”

The Bulldogs outshot their opponents, 34-30, and picked up six more ground balls than Hartford’s 26.

A key to Yale’s victory was patience on offense, according to attackman Brendan Gibson ’10.

“We looked to slow the game down and take longer possessions on offense,” he said. “In past games we would get the ball on offense and just go straight to the goal … so we tried to even out possession.”

“We weren’t looking for the first shot that came up but the best shot,” he added.

During practices leading up to the game, head coach Andy Shay stressed that his players possess the ball instead of rushing shots on net and the strategy paid off for the Bulldogs.

Despite being pleased with the scoring chances the offense generated, though, Brendan Gibson admitted that trouble executing made things harder on the Bulldogs.

“We took a decent amount of shots today but their goalie worked really well,” he said. “We need to work on getting our shots in the net. It would have been a whole different story if we had done that.”

Prior to the start of the season, Shay looked to his young players to fill the shoes left by a strong outgoing senior class.

Matt Gibson and Mahony have already emerged as consistent goal-scorers in their rookie season at Yale. Gibson has notched a combined seven goals in the last three games, while Mahony has tallied six.

“The freshmen are incredibly talented, and they’re coming into their own,” Aronson said. “They’re only getting better game by game and their filling their roles better.”

Yale has alternated wins and losses so far this season, including a pair of overtime victories against Providence and Penn. Two of Yale’s losses have come against teams ranked in the top 10 in the nation. In their last game, the Elis stayed with No. 3 Cornell for almost three quarters, but ultimately fell, 15-8, at Reese Stadium on Saturday.

Regardless of the ups and downs, Karwoski was pleased with the team’s progress.

“Coach Shay and his coaching staff have been doing a great job scouting all the teams we play,” Karwoski added. “They’ve been doing a great job training our newer players. Our team is on an upward path, and I feel confident that we are going to keep our winning record and keep moving onward.”

Yale welcomes No. 5 Princeton to Reese Stadium on Saturday for a 1 p.m. contest on Alumni Day.