The No. 7 men’s lacrosse team faced No. 12 Brown on Saturday, hoping to contain the nation’s second-leading offense and win its fourth consecutive game.
Yale’s defense limited the Bears to well below their season average of nearly 16 goals per game, while the Bulldog offensive provided fireworks of its own in an impressive 16–10 senior day win at Reese Stadium. Brown’s 10 goals represented the Bears’ second lowest output of the season. The Elis, on the other hand, matched its second-highest scoring total in the victory.
With the win, Yale jumped ahead of Brown in the Ivy standings, moving up to third place, behind Cornell and Princeton. As the Bulldogs (9–2, 3–2) have already faced both the Big Red and Tigers, they must rely on other teams to upset the leaders if they want to move further up the ranks of the Ancient Eight.
The Bulldogs relied on an impressive defensive effort to shut down the Brown offense and the nation’s leading scorer, Dylan Molloy. While Molloy was able to score five times on the day, only two of his goals came after the first quarter.
The difficult assignment of covering Molloy fell to defenseman Christopher Keating ’17, who was able to limit the attackman’s effectiveness within Brown’s fast-paced transition offense. Keating also led the team with seven ground balls.
“Keating had a really tough assignment,” midfielder Colin Flaherty ’15 said. “He did a great job limiting him offensively.”
Flaherty also pointed to defenseman Reilly Naton ’15 as a key player who turned in a stellar performance on Saturday.
On the other side of the ball, Yale’s top attackmen all turned in top-notch performances. Jeff Cimbalista ’17 deposited a season-high four goals to pace the Bulldog offense, and Conrad Oberbeck ’15 added three goals and an assist. Oberbeck’s second goal, an unassisted tally to open up the second quarter, gave the Bulldogs a 5–4 lead that they would not relinquish.
In addition to the stellar play of Cimbalista and Oberbeck, midfielder Eric Scott ’17 added three goals, and attackman Ben Reeves ’18 provided two goals and two assists.
“It was really the usual suspects who came up and were clutch for us,” defenseman Mike Quinn ’15 said. “We had some big momentum plays to keep the ball on the offensive end and keep our guys comfortable.”
The Bulldogs also saw an unexpected offensive contribution from midfielder Tyler Warner ’18, who tallied his first point in Yale blue with a second-quarter goal off of an assist from midfielder Brian Pratt ’17. Pratt added five ground balls for the Elis, tying for second on the team with Naton.
Goalie Eric Natale ’15 also turned in a solid performance. His eight saves gave him a total of 369 for his career and moved him past Dan Liu ’83 for seventh place on Yale’s career saves leaderboard.
The key contributions from Natale, Oberbeck, Naton and others were particularly fitting given the senior day celebrations occurring before the game.
“It was pretty emotional for us, but we were concentrating on leaving emotions in the locker room and playing our style of lacrosse,” midfielder Harry Kucharczyk ’15 said. “Everyone’s giving a little bit extra, which ended up helping us.”
The Bulldogs next go on the road to face No. 9 Albany, the nation’s top-scoring offensive team.
The Great Danes feature Lyle Thompson, arguably the nation’s most talented and famous player. Barring a scoreless game Tuesday against Bryant, Thompson will own the NCAA record for career points by the time the Bulldogs travel to Albany. Thompson also set the single-season points record last season before being honored with the Tewaaraton Award for the nation’s best college lacrosse player.
“We just played the second-best player in the country, and now we’re playing the best player in the country,” Kucharczyk said. “That focus on one superstar on the offensive end is really going to translate well, but the style in transition is different.”
The Bulldogs travel to Albany to face the Great Danes on Saturday. Face-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.