A week after league-leader No. 6 Penn stifled the No. 5 Yale men’s lacrosse team’s attack, the Bulldogs recovered to put up their season-high offensive output en route to a lopsided 20–8 win over Dartmouth.
The Elis (7–2, 3–1 Ivy) hosted the Big Green (2–7, 0–3) at Reese Stadium looking for a confidence boost against the conference’s cellar dweller after a triple-overtime heartbreaker to the Quakers on the road last week. Yale got off to a shaky start, allowing Dartmouth to knot the game up at several points through the first half. But when it finally rained, it poured — a chokehold on the faceoff, varied scoring plays and a tightened defense allowed the Bulldogs to storm to the 12-score victory and extend their winning streak against the Big Green to 10.
“We weren’t happy with how we were playing defense in the first half,” head coach Andy Shay said. “We were playing hard on offense and that was showing … we needed to play a little bit better on defense, and the guys figured that out in the second half. I think at the end of the day it was a great outing.”
The Elis, whom Penn goalie Reed Junkin frustrated the week before, initially struggled with Dartmouth goalie Daniel Hincks. Hincks pulled out a pair of clutch stops immediately after the game’s opening faceoff, allowing the Big Green to grab the day’s first score. Meanwhile, the Elis’ early possessions looked shaky.
Yale finally broke through with a man-up goal to make it even at one and then rifled two more past Hincks in the next two minutes to inject a much-needed dose of confidence. But a pair of penalties gave the Big Green the chance to erase its two-score deficit, and — after another back and forth — the squads ended the first quarter 4–4.
Yale began to find its groove in the second frame. The Bulldogs pulled ahead with another man-up tally, this time from attacker Jackson Morrill ’20. Midfielder Brian Tevlin ’21 — in just his second game since donating bone marrow — and attacker Matt Gaudet ’20 tacked on two more to display the Elis’ long list of powerful scorers. Although the Big Green snuck two in a row after that to cut Yale’s lead to just one, the Bulldogs’ scoring machine clicked shortly thereafter. The Elis notched five straight goals in four minutes to leave Dartmouth, who mustered up just one response before the end of the half, trailing 12–7 at the break.
After halftime, Yale’s defense throttled the Big Green almost entirely — Dartmouth put up 11 second-half shots to the Elis’ 47 and snuck just one more tally past goalie Jack Starr ’21, midway through the final frame. In the third quarter alone, the Elis added on five more goals to extend their lead to ten. Three more scores in the fourth period made the 20–8 match Yale’s most dominant win of the season so far.
Nine players scored for the Elis — Morrill, Gaudet and rookie attacker Matt Brandau ’22 led the way with four, three and three apiece. But the Bulldogs’ dominance on the attack started with Ierlan, who delivered a staggering 23 wins on 24 total faceoffs. Ierlan already owned the nation’s highest winning percentage coming into Saturday’s contest and has given Yale lopsided dominance in possession all season long. Still, his performance against Dartmouth was suffocating, even by his own standards.
The faceoff specialist’s complete shutdown of Dartmouth on the X — the Big Green rotated through eight players to try to thwart Ierlan — was in part the result of motivation from last week. Ierlan registered his weakest performance of the season against the Quakers, winning just over half of total faceoffs against Penn’s Kevin Gallagher.
“I know Gallagher is really good,” Ierlan said. “He played me really tough, and he was timing up the whistles really well. No discredit to him. He’s unbelievable. He’s probably a top-three, top-five guy in the country. I just think any time we end up on the losing side, and I look in and think I can do better, it makes for a long week of practice.”
Saturday’s 20-goal output marked Yale’s highest single-game scoring total of the season. With the program struggling to find its offensive identity early on in the campaign, the Bulldogs’ success against the Big Green could signify that the team is finally playing to its potential.
With Ierlan’s faceoff-winning prowess and the returning talent still generating goal-scoring opportunities, the Elis are confident that they can continue posting massive scoring outputs for its upcoming match against Brown and for the remainder of the season.
“Last year we put up 27 against Brown, so it’s definitely possible with the system we run,” midfielder Lucas Cotler ’20 said. “Coach gives us the green light to shoot it, and so if we’re canning them, it’s going to be a high-scoring game.
Yale will host Brown next weekend.
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