The No. 1/3 Yale men’s lacrosse team could not sit back and admire its five-goal comeback and 11–10 overtime victory over Penn on Saturday. The Bulldogs returned to action Tuesday night at home and dominated Sacred Heart in nearly all aspects of the game on the way to a 19–3 victory.
The Elis (9–0, 3–0 Ivy) outshot Sacred Heart (2–8, 0–2 Northeast) 51–31 while registering their largest margin of victory in five seasons. Elsewhere in the Ivy League and NCAA, No. 2/3 Brown fell to Bryant 11–10 in overtime, making Yale the only undefeated team remaining in the nation.
Yale, holding a perfect record through nine games for the first time since 1990, was essentially perfect on Tuesday night, scoring the most goals it has tallied all season while simultaneously allowing the fewest of the year.
“We only had a few days to prepare so the biggest thing was to worry about ourselves and worry about what we do, because we had gotten away from that in the last couple of games,” midfielder Eric Scott ’17 said.
Yale carried its momentum from the overtime victory into the first possession of Tuesday’s game. Scott found attackman Ben Reeves ’18, the scorer of the game-winner against Penn, for the first goal of the game. The Bulldogs did not look back, with midfielder JW McGovern ’16 scoring less than a minute later.
After Sacred Heart’s midfielder Max Tuttle, the reigning NEC Rookie of the Week, found the back of the net with 9:53 remaining in the first quarter, the Bulldogs scored three of the next four goals to take a 5–2 lead into the second quarter.
The second and third frames were all Yale. The Elis scored all seven goals in the second and all four in the third and held the Pioneers scoreless for over 39:03 of consecutive game time.
The Bulldogs scored 14 goals in this time period, but perhaps the most impressive part of Yale’s effort Tuesday night was the variety of goal scorers. Throughout the night, 14 different Bulldogs found the back of the net.
“We got everyone in the game,” head coach Andy Shay said. “It was a lot of fun to get a night where everyone gets a run.”
Reeves led the way with four goals and added two assists. Scott and midfielder Michael Keasey ’16 each tallied two goals in the contest, while midfielder Conor Mackie ’18, midfielder Henry Guild ’17 and attackman Ted Forst ’19 scored their first goals of the year.
Three of the Yale goals came on man-up opportunities, as the offense converted on 60 percent of its five attempts. The Bulldogs came into the contest scoring on only 22 percent of their opportunities, ranking them 61st out of 68 Division I teams, but left Reese Stadium with a 28-percent season mark.
Scott, whose two goals came with an extra man, believes having the right mentality is essential to man-up success.
“We had been thinking too much about it being man-up and not playing as well as we do six-on-six,” Scott said. “We’ve got to play and not think about it too much.”
Besides the extra-man success, the Bulldogs also showed significant improvement from the faceoff X, where they were winning just 46 percent of draws before Tuesday. The Elis won 15 of 26 facoffs, 58 percent, against Sacred Heart.
While almost everything looked good from Yale on the field, injuries revealed themselves as a potential concern for the team going forward. Attackman Joseph Sessa ’19 did not dress for the Sacred Heart game, instead wearing a boot on the sideline, and goalie Phil Huffard ’18, who has started every game this season, did not play against Sacred Heart, with the Ivy League Digital Network reporting that he has an injured hamstring.
With Huffard out, netminder Hoyt Crance ’19 got the start in goal. Although he allowed goals on two of the first three shots the Pioneers fired on net, Crance later settled into his game, saving all eight additional shots faced before being substituted out with 10 minutes remaining in the fourth. Captain and defender Michael Quinn ’16 described Crance’s performance as “phenomenal.”
“I tried to stay calm and not get to high or too low,” Crance said. “I focused on what I could do and we played good team defense. I let a few in at the beginning that I should have had, but I was able to make up for it throughout the game.”
The Bulldogs travel to Dartmouth on Saturday with an opportunity to clinch a berth in the Ivy League tournament, played by the top four teams in the conference. Dartmouth, which has won just one game this season, fell 10–8 to Sacred Heart in February.