After snapping a two-game losing streak with a dominant 15–7 win against Penn on Saturday, the No. 11 men’s lacrosse team faced a busy week, with games against both Sacred Heart and Dartmouth.
On Tuesday, the Bulldogs (7–2, 1–2 Ivy) took care of business in the week’s first contest, controlling the game from start to finish and blowing out the Pioneers (4–4, 1–1 NEC) by a final score of 13–3. Yale ran up a 9–0 halftime lead, having its way on both sides of the ball, and coasted through the second half with lineups filled with younger, lesser-used players.
While the Bulldogs put up another strong offensive performance, their work on the defensive end was more notable. For the first time all season, Yale kept an opponent off the board for an entire half, surrendering its first goal midway through the third quarter and never letting the Pioneers get closer than a nine-goal margin.
“Defensively, we did a great job of always having two or three guys there ready to help out,” midfielder Eric Scott ’17 said. “On ball, we weren’t really getting beat at all … the defense did a great job shutting it off. It’s hard to come up with something they could’ve done better.”
The Bulldog defense hounded Sacred Heart to the tune of 18 turnovers, the most for a Yale opponent since they faced St. John’s. Seven different Yale players caused Pioneer turnovers, and goalies Eric Natale ’15, Dylan Meyer ’18 and Jack Berney ’17 combined to save eight of the opponent’s measly 11 shots on goal.
Offensively, the Bulldogs saw excellent performances from the usual suspects. Attackman Conrad Oberbeck ’15 recorded a pair of goals to give him a team-leading 26 and his two assists allowed him to leapfrog attackman Ben Reeves ’18 for the lead in that category with 12.
Reeves continued to excel as well with a goal and an assist. Against Sacred Heart, though, his role as the offensive second banana was eclipsed by the performance of attackman Jeff Cimbalista ’17. Cimbalista recorded his second consecutive hat trick and tied his season high with a total of four points, including a goal to open the game and an assist on a first-quarter Reeves goal before Yale had fully taken control.
“Jeff has definitely stepped up big time in his sophomore year, he battled some injuries last year and has now been an integral part of our attack,” midfielder Michael Keasey ’16 said. “He had a big game yesterday … we’re hoping he can continue to be a solid third attacker for us.”
Three Yale midfielders also showed off their scoring prowess. Scott and Sean Shakespeare ’15 each scored twice, with three of their four combined goals coming in a five-minute span of the second quarter. Shane Thornton ’15 led all midfielders with three points, including a goal and an assist during the team’s dominant 5–0 second quarter.
Thanks to their early dominance, the Bulldogs were able to give playing time to a number of their normal bench players. Most notably, the two backup goalies saw a bit of time in net in the fourth quarter, giving Natale a spell of rest. Additionally, attackman JW McGovern ’16 scored an unassisted fourth-quarter goal to conclude the Bulldog offensive output, only his second tally of the season.
Given the game’s midweek status, it was nice for the Bulldogs to be able to coast for one game. Their next contest, however, should provide more of a challenge. Dartmouth, Yale’s next opponent, is ranked No. 26 and sits just above the Elis in the Ivy standings at 1–1. While the Bulldogs should be favored, they can expect a tough contest from the Big Green.
“This Saturday is a big, big league game for us against Dartmouth, they’re a team that’s shown a lot more energy than in previous years,” defenseman Mike Quinn ’16 said. “There’s a lot more on the line because they’re 1–1 in the league, so we’ve got to make sure we bring it on Saturday.”
Yale hosts Dartmouth on Saturday at Reese Stadium. Face-off will be at 3 p.m.