After suffering consecutive losses to conference rivals Cornell and Princeton, the No. 11 men’s lacrosse team got back on track with a crushing 15–7 win over the struggling Penn Quakers.
With the victory, the Bulldogs (6–2, 1–2 Ivy) got their first Ivy League win of the season and escaped the cellar of the conference standings, leaving Penn (3–6, 0–3 Ivy) tied with Harvard for last place. Yale led the Quakers from start to finish, scoring the game’s first two goals en route to a 4–1 lead after the first quarter.
All-Ivy attackman Conrad Oberbeck ’15 was especially dominant in the early going, scoring the game’s first two goals, both unassisted. Oberbeck added one goal in each of the game’s last three quarters and assisted on a Jon Reese ’16 goal for good measure, giving him a game-high five goals and six total points on the day.
While in their loss to Princeton, the Bulldogs floundered despite Oberbeck’s stellar play, the rest of Yale’s offense woke up to the tune of 15 total goals. The 15-goal tally was the most points accumulated by the Bulldogs since a 16–9 win over Bryant on Feb. 28.
When asked about the offensive changes resulting in this weekend’s scoring outburst, Oberbeck cited the increased communication and cohesive organization between midfield and attack as the key to the team’s success.
In addition to Oberbeck’s success, attackman Jeff Cimbalista ’17 scored three goals and attackman Ben Reeves ’18 chipped in two goals and an assist. As has been the case all season, these three starting attackmen were essential to the Bulldog offensive output.
Yale also got goals from five different midfielders — Michael Keasey ’16, Colin Flaherty ’15, Eric Scott ’17, Shane Thornton ’15 and Reese — all during their seven-goal third-quarter explosion. The contributions of the midfield to the team’s goalscoring helped the Elis avoid the mid-game collapses that have plagued them all season.
“The whole season, we’ve been coming out high energy and the last couple games we’ve blown some leads,” Thornton said. “After that first quarter … we wanted to come out [strong] in the second quarter.”
They did just that, turning a 4–1 first-quarter advantage into a 6–2 halftime score before their third-quarter brilliance turned the intense conference matchup into an easy game for the Elis. When all was said and done, the Bulldogs won the second and third quarters by a combined 9–3 score and had opened up a nine-goal advantage, 13–4.
From there, Yale cruised through the fourth quarter, with goals from Oberbeck and Cimbalista to complete the 15 total tallies on the Yale side. On the defensive end, the Bulldogs shut down Penn stars Nick Doktor and Joe McCallion, with Doktor registering only one goal and one assist while McCallion was held scoreless entirely.
Goalie Eric Natale ’15 made eight saves on his 15 shots faced, a far cry from the struggling Penn goalies, both of whom played two quarters and surrendered more goals than successful saves.
The only facet of the game where the Bulldogs struggled was the faceoff X, where Reese and Conor Mackie ’18 won only 10 of 26 faceoffs. Nonetheless, Yale dominated possession and was able to put up a lopsided final score.
From here, however, Yale faces a difficult road to the postseason. The Bulldogs face a short week, with a Tuesday non-conference battle against Sacred Heart before hosting Ivy rival Dartmouth on Saturday. However, after Saturday’s complete performance, the Yale players once again feel confident and ready.
“It’ll be a tough, quick turnaround, but it’s one we’re certainly capable of,” Oberbeck said.
Yale hosts Sacred Heart on Tuesday at Reese Stadium. The Bulldogs and the Pioneers will face off at 7 p.m.