After a nail-bitingly close first half, the No. 6 Yale men’s lacrosse team scored eight straight goals in the third quarter to ultimately defeat Brown in a record-high 27–15 victory and clinch the 2018 Ivy League regular-season title.
The Bulldogs (9–2, 5–0 Ivy) were looking to extend their perfect conference record as they packed their bags and headed to Providence, Rhode Island for a highly anticipated matchup against Brown (5–5, 2–2) on Saturday. While the two teams appeared well-matched on paper, the Bulldogs clearly established their dominance with goals from 15 different players and durable defense that kept the Bears to single-digit scoring until the last quarter.
“Coming into this game, we had a feeling it was going to be a very tough game,” defender Chris Fake ’21 said. “Brown plays the game at one of the fastest paces in the country, and we knew that we had to tame them in the beginning of the game to be successful. At the end of the day we executed what we needed to, and that is a great feeling. Additionally, it is an incredible feeling clinching this year’s Ivy League title.”
Although Brown goaltender Phil Goss ranked second nationally in saves per game heading into last Saturday’s contest, the Eli offense scored a program record 27 goals and wasted no time in finding the back of the net. The Bulldogs broke open Saturday’s scoring totals less than a minute into the contest when midfielder Joseph Sessa ’19 fired one past Goss for the unassisted tally. Brown midfielder Stephen Hudak answered minutes later, which sparked a run for the Bears that allowed them to gain a 3–1 advantage four minutes into the first frame. Regaining a bit of momentum, the Bulldogs found themselves up by two goals going into the second quarter.
Brown midfielder and leading goal-scorer Michael Panepinto fired one into the back of the cage exactly one minute into the second quarter to cut the Bulldog lead down to just a single score. Three minutes later, the Bears notched two goals roughly 30 seconds apart to reclaim the lead. However, Yale fought back and racked up five tallies before Brown attacker Luke McCaleb managed to stop the bleeding with an unassisted goal as the clock wound down on the first half.
“Having possession of the ball really helped put us in that situation,” attacker Jack Tigh ’19 said of Yale’s commanding second half. “[Conor Mackie ’18] did a great job at the face-off X to gain us possession. The defense also stepped up in the second half and made some adjustments to stop some of their key players.”
Yale’s offensive dominance in the third quarter, in which the Blue outscored Brown 9–1, came largely at the hands of midfielder and face-off man Mackie. Although Mackie and the Bears’ midfielder Ted Ottens had essentially split faceoff wins in the first half, Mackie went 7–7 in the third quarter to give his team the offensive possession after every goal. By the end of the third quarter, Yale boasted an impressive 19–9 lead against one of its biggest Ivy rivals, thanks to scores from captain and attacker Ben Reeves ’18, attackers Matt Gaudet ’20, Brendan Rooney ’19, Tigh and Jackson Morrill ’20 and midfielders Jason Alessi ’18 and Lucas Cotler ’20.
Comfortable but not complacent, the Bulldogs continued to find offensive and defensive success while more players rotated in and saw time on the field. Two rookies, attacker Griffin Gharrity ’21 and midfielder Luke Eschbach ’21, both scored their first career goals, and first-year midfielder Brian Tevlin ’21 also tallied a career-high three assists. Goalies Brody Wilson ’20 and Hoyt Crance ’19 both saw time in the net as well, each recording two saves on the day during the fourth quarter.
Yale continued to show off its across-the-board strong offense, a defining factor of its game, as 15 different players notched their name on the scoring sheet for the Elis on Saturday, with a few of them posting especially notable games. Sessa finished the day with a career-high five points coming by way of a game-high four goals and one assist. Also leading all scorers was Reeves, who poured in four and set up his teammates by racking up three assists.
After Saturday’s blowout, the Elis will return home to Reese Stadium to take on Marist on Tuesday night, with the game against the Red Foxes set to begin at 7 p.m.
Jane Miller | firstname.lastname@example.org
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