The No. 3 Yale men’s lacrosse team saw its seven-game winning streak snapped by No. 14 Bucknell in a 9–8 overtime loss on Wednesday night.
On a chilly night at Reese Stadium, the Elis (7–2, 3–0 Ivy) hosted Bucknell (8–3, 5–1 Patriot) for the first meeting between the Bison and the Bulldogs in school history. Despite trailing for much of the game, Yale sent the back-and-forth battle to overtime before Bucknell’s Sean O’Brien finally clinched the victory with a shot past Yale goaltender Jack Starr ’21.
“Credit to Bucknell,” head coach Andy Shay said. “They played hard, they played us tough and they earned the win.”
After producing one of its best performances of the year against Penn on Saturday, the Yale defense struggled to stifle an excited Bucknell offense during the first quarter of Wednesday night’s game. The Bison fired off five shots before the Elis even gained their first possession.
Once they finally controlled the ball, the Bulldogs came through with a man-up goal from attacker Jackson Morrill ’20 to open scoring for the game. Bucknell quickly tied the contest at one with a tally from O’Brien and clinched the lead when attackers Tommy Sopko and Connor O’Harra both found the back of the net past Starr.
Trailing 3–1 to begin the second quarter, Yale quickly decreased its deficit when midfielder Joe Sessa ’19 found attacker John Daniggelis ’19 for the goal. The Eli momentum continued throughout the second quarter but the Bulldogs were not able to score again until a man-up opportunity presented itself with just under four minutes to play. Captain and attacker Ben Reeves ’18 assisted to attacker Brendan Rooney ’19 to tie the game at three before Yale took its first lead of the night just under two minutes later when Morrill notched his second goal. Despite a shaky start, Yale boasted a 4–3 advantage heading into the locker rooms for halftime.
But Bucknell would return to the field looking to avenge its second-quarter deficit. The Bison scored three unanswered goals in as many minutes to go up 7–4 with 11 minutes still left to play in the third quarter. Attacker Jack Tigh ’19 tallied Yale’s first goal of the third quarter. but Bucknell’s O’Brien and O’Hara kept their team’s lead safe — each recording three goals in regulation.
Starr recorded nine saves on the night and managed to keep the Bison from scoring during the fourth quarter. On the opposite side of the field, Yale rallied during the fourth quarter with late goals from Tigh and Reeves. With his second goal of the night, Yale’s captain tied up the game with under two minutes to play and ended up sending the contest to overtime.
The Bulldogs won the faceoff at the onset of overtime, but they were unable to score and conceded possession to the Bison. O’Brien tallied his fourth — and most important — goal of the night with just over a minute left in overtime, sealing the score at 9–8 in favor of Bucknell.
This weekend, the Elis will head to Hanover to go toe-to-toe with Dartmouth (2–6, 0–2), a team currently on a four-game losing streak. Two of those losses came at the hands of two formidable conference opponents — No. 10 Cornell and No. 19 Harvard.
The Big Green allowed 22 goals against the Big Red, and Yale will look to capitalize on Dartmouth’s weak defense and produce a repeat of last year’s 13–6 victory. In order to exploit the Big Green both on offense and defense, Yale will need to study both what the team did well and what mistakes it made in Wednesday’s game, according to midfielder Conor Mackie ’18.
“We don’t want to brush [the loss] off too quickly,” Mackie said. “We want to try and use this as an opportunity to see where we are ready to improve and keep going with our league schedule.”
The contest against the Big Green will begin at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
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