Tag Archive: M. Lacrosse

  1. Gibson ’12 named MLL Rookie of the Year


    A Yalie has stunned the lacrosse world as a rising star in the major leagues.

    At the start of this year’s Major League Lacrosse Season, InsideLacrosse.com published its predictions for the 2012 Rookie of the Year award. Rob Pannell, the 2010 and 2011 National Attackman of the Year from Cornell, topped the list, followed by two-time All-Americans Steele Stanwick, Mark Matthews and CJ Costabile.

    But by midseason, each of these four had fallen off the map and only one name remained on the website’s revised list — Matt Gibson ’12 of the Long Island Lizards.

    Gibson, the only Eli currently playing professional men’s lacrosse, went on to lead all rookies with 33 points his first season and walked away with the Rookie of the Year award that Inside Lacrosse predicted for him with seven weeks left in the season. It was the first time a Yale graduate earned the award.

    “It’s definitely a big honor, but I wouldn’t have been too upset not to get it,” Gibson said. “There are a lot of other great rookies in the league and mostly it just gives me a bit of confidence going forward.”

    The former Yale attacker took the league by storm with a goal and four assists in his first professional game and earned Rookie of the Week honors for his debut performance. At the halfway point of the season Gibson far surpassed all other rookies with 10 goals and 10 assists and was the only first-year player to be named to the 2012 MLL All-Star team.

    Gibson said that the biggest adjustment for him was not the speed or talent of professional players, but rather the different role he walked into on the Lizards.

    “In college I was the go-to guy and a lot of our offensive success hinged on me,” Gibson said. “On the Lizards I had to take a back seat and learn how to fit into a new role. Fortunately, they weren’t asking me to do anything very different than what I did in college … The only difference was the number of touches I was getting.”

    While Gibson’s emergence as an MLL star may have shocked many in the lacrosse world, it came as no surprise to his teammates and his coach. Both midfielder Dylan Levings ’14 and head coach Andy Shay noted that Gibson played at a high level his senior year, and the jump to the pros was well within his reach.

    “People didn’t realize how good Matt was last year,” Levings said. “We may not have expected [Gibson’s Rookie of the Year season] but we certainly weren’t surprised.”

    Shay added that Gibson scored multiple points on three of the top six defensemen in the country and was the catalyst for the entire Bulldog offense last season.

    During his senior year, Gibson scored 61 points, earned first-team All-Ivy honors and finished eighth in Division I with 2.06 assists per game. He led the Bulldogs to a No. 12 national ranking and the team’s first NCAA berth since 1992.

    The Elis qualified for the NCAA tournament with two upset wins over then-No. 13 Cornell and then-No. 9 Princeton. Gibson had 14 points in those games and set an Ivy League Tournament record with 8 assists in the Bulldogs’ 14–10 dismantling of the Big Red in the semifinals.

    Gibson said his triumphs at Yale are the ones he cherishes most.

    “[Winning the Ivy League Tournament] was the greatest thing I’ve done in my career thus far,” Gibson said. “My first year we won one Ivy League game. Our goal over the past few years was transforming the program and turning things around. A couple years ago we got close — we made the tournament and were ranked — and this year we finally did it.”

    Despite this outstanding performance at the tail end of his college career, Gibson was left off the 2012 All-American list, a move Shay called “an absolute disgrace.”

    Gibson recorded 36 points his junior season and received Honorable Mention All-American honors, yet his 61 points were insufficient to earn him the same award his senior season. Gibson outscored seven out of the 11 2012 Honorable Mentions and four out of the seven second and third-team All-Americans.

    After an entire season of professional play and his Rookie of the Year award, Gibson said he was no longer frustrated about his apparent slight by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association.

    “It’s nice to get some recognition finally, and a lot of people agree that it was strange [being left off the All-American list],” Gibson said. “But I’m a lot happier to have had the senior season that I did.”

  2. M. LACROSSE | Elis win sixth straight


    The 2012 Yale men’s lacrosse team cannot seem to avoid excitement. Friday night under the lights at Reese Stadium, the No. 20 Elis (8–4, 3–2 Ivy) knocked off the No. 19 Bryant Bulldogs, 11–10, in the second extra period for their third straight overtime victory.

    “We’re not trying to, actually,” attackman Deron Dempster ’13 said when asked about his team’s propensity for playing close games. “We’re lucky our defense has played really solid in overtime. I know it seems like an anomaly, but we’re just happy to get the wins.”

    Bryant’s (12–3, 4–0 NEC) Kevin Massa won the faceoff to start the second overtime, and the visitors kept possession for the first three minutes of the period. But defenseman Peter Johnson ’13 forced a turnover, and Yale cleared the ball into its offensive zone. With time winding down, the ball found its way behind the net and into the stick of attackman Matt Gibson ’12.

    The Elis’ leading scorer had two assists in the game, but had yet to find the net. Bryant defender Glenn Maiorano had done a good job keeping up with the crafty Long Island native, but this time Gibson would not be denied. He took Maiorano up the left side of the crease, stutter-stepped, and spun up towards the front of the goal. Gibson’s left-handed shot rocketed through the legs of Bryant goaltender Jameson Love with 1.7 seconds left on the clock.

    Friday’s win came after a four-overtime victory at Brown last weekend and a 9–8 defeat of Stony Brook in the first overtime period earlier this week. Seven of the Elis’ 12 games have now been decided by a single goal. Despite dropping the first three of these contests, to Sacred Heat, No. 3 Cornell and No. 14 Princeton, the Bulldogs have come out on top in each of the last four.

    “Against Princeton and Cornell we saw some of the upper-echelon teams in the country,” Dempster said, “and playing against them and being close in those games builds character. Having that experience pays off in [close games] going forward.”

    The matchup with Bryant not only featured a battle of Bulldogs — the Smithfield, R.I., school shares its mascot with Yale — but a battle between the No. 4 and No. 5 face-off men in the nation. Dylan Levings ’14 trails Massa by .005 points with a .641 winning percentage, but on Friday the Yale sophomore had his way with him at the X. Levings finished 16 of 25 for the game, putting in another strong performance against top competition. Earlier in the season he finished six of nine against a Cornell unit led by No. 15 Doug Tesoriero and 10 of 17 against Princeton, the 17th-ranked face-off team in the country.

    “I watched a lot of film on [Massa] and was pretty comfortable with what he was trying to do,” Levings said. “I just wanted to go out there and do my thing, and I was able to make adjustments when I had to.”

    It took almost 13 minutes for the teams to get on the scoreboard, but Bryant midfielder Matt Larson broke the knot with 2:17 left in the first quarter. Yale responded with goals from Dempster and captain Michael Pratt ’12 in the final minute of the period, and the Elis never trailed again.

    The teams battled for most of the game, and Yale was never able to pull away. The Elis led 6–3 midway through the third quarter, but Bryant went on a three-goal run to close the gap. Later, in the fourth quarter, Yale built another three-goal lead, but Bryant scored the final three goals of the game to tie the score at 10 and send the game into overtime.

    Defenseman Mason Poli scored Bryant’s final goal in transition with 21 seconds remaining in the game. Poli led his team in scoring with three goals, and the Elis had trouble stopping him in transition. Yet Yale was very effective in settled, six-on-six situations. Defender Michael McCormack ’13 had five caused turnovers, and netminder Jack Meyer ’14 finished with 13 saves. The Yale defense has surrendered only one goal in 12 overtime periods, and Meyer has a 91 percent save percentage in overtime.

    “Jack Meyer has been incredible in overtime,” Yale defensive coordinator Ryan Polley said. “He has 11 saves and only one goal against. We’ve gotten timely saves, and we have a lot of experience on defense in Mike Pratt and Mark Dobrosky ’12. These guys are used to playing in those big situations, and we don’t make a lot of mental mistakes in overtime.”

    The Bulldogs were led on offense by Greg Mahony ’12, who finished with a hat trick for the second game in a row. Dempster also added two goals, while midfielders Ryan McCarthy ’14 and Colin Flaherty ’15 finished with two more points for the Bulldogs.

    Yale faces Harvard in its final game of the season this Saturday. The Bulldogs have clinched a spot in the Ivy League tournament, but the Crimson needs to win its final game to earn a spot of its own.

    “Last year we didn’t perform very well [against Harvard] and [head] coach [Andy Shay] stressed that we cannot have a repeat of that effort,” Dempster said. “We get to play them at home this time, and we have a chance to end their season. It’s a great opportunity for us to finish our regular season on the right note.”

  3. M. LACROSSE | Yale preps for dog fight

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    The No. 20 Bulldogs head into the penultimate game of their regular season riding a five-game winning streak and two straight overtime wins. But on Friday night at Reese Stadium they will go up against another one of the hottest teams in college lacrosse right now.

    The No. 19 Bryant Bulldogs have won ten games in a row and will be looking to improve their NCAA Tournament resume in their first game against another ranked opponent.

    Yale is coming off a thrilling overtime win over the Seawolves of Stony Brook. Midfielder Greg Mahony ’12 needed only one minute and six seconds of overtime to find the net and bring the small but energetic crowd of Yale supporters to its feet. Mahony had one of his best games of the season against Stony Brook and recorded his second hat trick of the year.

    But Bryant will be coming in with a sparking midfielder of its own. Brian Schlansker had three goals at Bryant’s most recent contest against Quinnipiac, and the freshman has scored seven goals in Bryant’s last four games.

    The Yale defense has been playing well, averaging 8.8 goals against during the current winning streak. The unit has been playing particularly well against opposing teams’ midfield units and has not conceded three goals in one game to a single midfielder in almost a month.

    One key to the defense’s effectiveness recently has been forcing turnovers. The Elis rank fifth in the nation in caused turnovers. Defensemen Michael McCormack ’13 and Peter Johnson ’13 are fifth and 17th, respectively, in the country at causing turnovers, and their stellar play has anchored the Bulldog defense.

    Also crucial to the Bulldogs’ success has been the dominance of faceoff specialist Dylan Levings ’14. Levings owns a .641 winning percentage at the X — good enough for fifth in the nation — and his .692 mark in Ivy competition is even better. Between the defense’s caused turnovers and Levings’ faceoff prowess, the Elis can always count on controlling their share of possessions.

    On the offensive side of the ball, Mahony has been aided by attackers Matt Gibson ’12 and Deron Dempster ’13. Dempster has been one of Yale’s key players during this five-game winning streak. In his first game back from injury against Penn, the junior scored five goals, including the game winner with 11.9 seconds left. He has scored 15 goals in the last five games and has been a major sparkplug for the Bulldogs’ offense.

    Gibson has been even hotter. He had two goals and four groundballs for Yale on Monday, only a few days after scoring a season-high five goals against Brown last weekend. Gibson has totaled 14 goals in his last four games and shows no signs of slowing down as Harvard and the Ivy League Tournament approach.

    “We’ve been playing our best lacrosse of the season the last couple games,” Gibson said, “and we don’t want that to slip away. We’re going to try to use [these non-league games] to build up our momentum so we end up playing at our highest level in May.”

    The Bulldogs have clinched a spot in the Ivy League Tournament, although their season finale against Harvard could determine their seed. This will be head coach Andy Shay’s third straight trip to the Ivy League Tournament.

    Tonight’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Reese Stadium.

  4. M. LACROSSE | Bulldogs outlast Bears in 4-OT

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    Deron Dempster ’13 played the role of hero again Friday night, whipping the ball past Brown goalkeeper Will Round in the fourth overtime period to give the Elis a thrilling 11–10 victory over the Bears.

    Two weeks ago against Penn, the junior attacker scored the game-winning goal for the Bulldogs (6–4, 3–2 Ivy) with 11.9 seconds remaining in his first game back from injury. That victory snapped a four-game losing streak, and the Elis have not lost since. Friday’s win was the Bulldogs’ fourth in a row and clinched Yale a spot in the Ivy League tournament in May.

    “We’ve been playing our best lacrosse of the season the last couple games,” attackman Matt Gibson ’12 said, “and we don’t want that to slip away. We have two non-league games coming up, and we’re going to try to use them to build up our momentum so we end up playing at our highest level in May.”

    Earlier this season the Bulldogs played the longest game in Yale men’s lacrosse history, a heartbreaking five-overtime loss to Princeton. While Friday’s contest did not go quite as long, it lacked none of the excitement of the Princeton game. The overtime periods were riveting back-and-forth affairs, featuring 20 shots and 11 saves between the two teams. Attacker Conrad Oberbeck ’15 hit the inside of the post, and Round saved a broken clear for the Bears (4–7, 1–3 Ivy) with an incredible one-on-one stop in the second overtime period.

    The Yale defense, which conceded eight goals over the second and third quarters, held the Brown offense scoreless for the final 30 minutes of the game.

    “The Princeton game was such a valuable experience,” defenseman Michael McCormack ’13 said. “It taught us how to remain calm and keep our composure when the game went to overtime. [Head] coach [Andy] Shay also has a ‘one-goal drill’ that simulates a one-goal game with the clock winding down. We practice it a lot, and that helped prepare us well for overtime situations.”

    Round did everything he could to keep Brown in the game and made seven of his 17 saves in overtime, but in the end, Dempster and the Bulldogs proved too much for him.

    Midfielder Dylan Levings ’14 won the face-off to start the fourth overtime, and Yale quickly called time-out. Levings won all four of the face-offs in overtime and finished 18 of 28 for the game. The sophomore was helped out by huge efforts from his wing players, McCormack and captain Michael Pratt ’12. The trio combined to pick up 20 ground balls for the Elis and their dominance helped the team control possession in overtime.

    After breaking from the time-out, the Bulldogs worked through their offensive sets and fired several shots past the goal before Dempster found himself on the right wing covered by a short-stick defender. Dempster backed his defender down, watching for the slide to come. It never did, and the junior stepped back and fired the ball at the net. The white rubber missile snuck its way past Round and the Eli bench erupted, converging on Dempster at one end and goalkeeper Jack Meyer ’14 at the other.

    It was Dempster who won the game, but Gibson was the key for the Elis’ offense. The senior is third in the Ivy League in goals per game and tallied five against Brown to lead all scorers. The senior also scooped up six ground balls and caused two turnovers to complement his highest goal-scoring output of the season.

    “They were mostly just effort plays,” Gibson said of his scoring output. “I didn’t do anything specific, I wasn’t dissecting the defense, I was just looking to work hard and make plays. We just outworked them as a team. We didn’t get anything going offensively, but we were able to score as many goals as we did because we made hustle plays and scored blue-collar goals.”

    Gibson seemed to score at will in the first half, finding the net four times in the first 16 minutes of the game. His outburst helped give the Bulldogs a 7–3 lead midway through the second quarter, but the Bears came roaring back. Yale’s defense became sloppy, and the Bulldog offense struggled mightily to create open shots. Brown went on a 6–1 run to come all the way back and take a 9–8 lead with two minutes left in the third quarter.

    Gibson scored his fifth goal of the game with less than a minute remaining in the quarter to knot the score at nine. This was another effort play — he collected the ball after a broken Brown clear, stepped under two defenders and finished from five yards out. But less than a minute later Brown midfielder Rob Schlesinger put the Bears back up on a miracle shot from midfield right before the buzzer sounded.

    It was the last time the Bears found the net that day. Oberbeck’s sidearm rip found the net with four minutes to go in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 10, and Dempster sealed the deal.

    Friday’s game was especially meaningful for the Bulldogs because of the passing this week of Bob McHenry, the former longtime head coach of the Yale men’s lacrosse team. McHenry was a member of both the Connecticut and Pennsylvania Lacrosse Halls of Fame and described by Shay in an email to the Yale Lacrosse Association as “truly one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.”

    “I have got to think we got a little help from Coach McHenry on this one,” the coach added after the game.

    The Bulldogs hit the road to take on Stony Brook tonight at 7 p.m.

  5. M. LACROSSE | Elis Back Over .500

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    Eight different Bulldogs found the net as the men’s lacrosse team overcame a 3–0 deficit to beat Dartmouth (2–7, 0–3 Ivy) 13–11 on Saturday. The victory stretched the Elis’ current winning streak to three and kept Yale (5–4, 2–2 Ivy) in the race to get into the Ivy League tournament.

    “We had eight different guys score goals [on Saturday]; it was good to spread it around,” captain Michael Pratt ’12 said. “We played great defensively too and strung a pretty good game together. We’re back to .500 in the Ivy League and looking forward to Brown on Friday.”

    Attackman Matt Gibson ’12 led the Bulldogs with four goals spread across the final three quarters. He was joined by fellow attackers Conrad Oberbeck ’15 and Deron Dempster ’13, who finished with two goals and three points apiece. The scoring was rounded out by goals from attackman Brandon Mangan ’14 and midfielders Matt Miller ’12, Colin Still ’12, Shane Thornton ’15 and Pratt in an impressive showcase of the Elis’ depth. Midfielder Greg Mahony ’12 played the role of facilitator for the Bulldogs, contributing two assists to the offensive effort.

    Yale won its second straight Ivy League game and moved back to .500 in the conference. The win gives the team some breathing space after losses to No. 5 Cornell and No. 10 Princeton left the Elis with their backs to the wall two weeks ago. Only the top four teams in the conference make the Ivy League tournament, and Pratt said that the team will have to finish 4–2 against Ivy opponents to qualify. Cornell and Princeton are undefeated in the Ivy League and will likely take the top two spots, leaving Yale, Harvard (5–5, 2–1 Ivy) and Brown (4–6, 1–2 Ivy) fighting for the remaining two berths.

    The Bulldogs started the game off in a zone defense, but the Big Green exploited it early, finding the net three straight times in the first four minutes of the game. On the other end of the field, Dartmouth’s defense held Yale’s offense in check for the first 14 minutes and seven seconds of the first quarter.

    But with less than a minute remaining in the period, Miller’s goal broke the seal, and the Elis were off to the races. Yale’s defense switched to a man-to-man formation out of their zone, and the Bulldogs went on an 11–3 run over the next 35 minutes. Dempster scored his first goal with four seconds left in the first quarter to pull Yale within one, and equalized for the Bulldogs shortly after the first break.

    “I’m continually proud of our resilience,” coach Andy Shay said of his team’s comeback.

    The numbers told the tale of Yale’s victory, as the Bulldogs held an edge in almost all statistical categories. They outshot the Big Green 40–29 and held a 31–25 advantage in ground balls. Pratt led the loose ball effort, collecting a game-high seven for the Elis.

    “Once we changed our game plan [out of the zone] our defense did a good job of getting the ball on the ground,” Pratt said. “And after the ball is on the ground, it’s always part of our game plan to go after it hard, and we just did a good job of executing.”

    The Bulldogs once again dominated at the face-off X, winning 18 of 28 contests. Dylan Levings ’14, the third ranked face-off specialist in the country, won 12 of his 17 draws while Cole Yeager ’13 added six more wins of his own. Success at the X has been one of the most consistent elements of the team’s play this season, and the duo’s effectiveness will be important for the rest of Yale’s race to the Ivy League tournament.

    Gibson’s third goal opened the scoring in the fourth quarter and put Yale up 11–6. Two minutes later, Dartmouth attacker Kip Dooley cut the lead to four and for the last nine minutes of the game, the Big Green pulled its goalie and double-teamed the ball every time Yale entered the offensive zone. Head coach Andy Shay said that this tactic succeeded in forcing the ball out of his player’s sticks half the time, and the added pressure helped Dartmouth close the gap to two by the end of the game. Yet the Bulldogs’ defense held strong, and the Elis were able to come away with a crucial victory.

    The team travels to Providence next Friday to take on Brown in a 7 p.m. game.

  6. M. LACROSSE | Yale pursues third straight win

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    Tomorrow the Bulldogs will look to build on their two-game winning streak when they travel to Hanover to take on Dartmouth. Last weekend, Yale broke a four-match slump with its first Ivy League win in a thriller against Penn.

    The Elis (4–4, 1–2 Ivy) led for most of the contest but allowed the Quakers to climb back into the game with a three-goal run in the fourth quarter. The win was saved by a fast break goal from Deron Dempster ’13 with 11.9 seconds remaining. The goal was Dempster’s fifth of the game and put the Elis ahead 10–9 for good.

    “It felt great to get [the first Ivy win of the season]” captain Michael Pratt ’12 said. “0–2 isn’t a great place to be in the Ivy League, so we’re glad to just get this win and move forward from here.”

    On Tuesday this week, the Bulldogs continued their run of good form with a 9–6 victory over Providence. The Elis gave up the first goal of the game but answered right back with four of their own and never trailed again. The game featured another impressive performance from Dempster, who finished with four goals in only his second game back from an injury. The Bulldogs will look for him to continue his strong play tomorrow as they go for their second Ivy League win of the season.

    Attacker Matt Gibson ’12 once again got the Bulldogs’ offense going in the win over Providence. The senior leads the team and is fourth in the Ivy League with 3.25 points per game and he added four more, including three goals, to his tally on Tuesday. Gibson also continued his effective play with Dempster, with his lone assist of the game resulting in a goal by the junior attacker. In last Saturday’s game the two connected three times for goals by Dempster. In order for the Bulldog offense to be successful against Dartmouth, the chemistry between these two will have to continue.

    Tuesday’s win was important for the Elis because it showed the team it could win even when their primary faceoff specialist, midfielder Dylan Levings ’14, is not at the top of his game. The sophomore was ranked third in the country as of April 1, with a .657 winning percentage at the X. He struggled on Tuesday, winning only three of 10 contests, but midfielder Cole Yeager ’13 picked up the slack, winning five of his eight faceoffs.

    The last time these two teams met, the Bulldogs prevailed, 9–7 at Reese Stadium, but the final score was not indicative of the way that the game was played. The Yale defense held the Big Green scoreless for 39 minutes and built a commanding six-goal lead midway through the fourth quarter. Yale dominated the possession battle, holding a 37–21 edge over the visitors in ground balls and winning 14 of 20 faceoffs.

    Tomorrow’s game begins at 1 p.m. in Hanover.

  7. M. LACROSSE | Elis snatch first Ivy win

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    Attacker Deron Dempster ’13 scored his fifth goal of Saturday’s game with 11.9 seconds remaining in the contest off a pass from defenseman Peter Johnson ’13 to give the Bulldogs a 10–9 victory over Penn at Reese Stadium. The Elis’ (3–4, 1–2 Ivy) first win of the Ivy League season snapped a losing streak that included a heartbreaking five-overtime defeat against No. 13 Princeton last Saturday and a tough one-goal loss at No. 5 Cornell the week before.

    “It’s huge for us,” Dempster said of the victory. “We’d lost four in a row, and we were looking for that win to turn our season around. Every team is good in this league, so we took the time to study the other games, and we just wanted it today.”

    After attackman Tim Schwalje equalized for the Quakers (1–6, 0–3 Ivy) with under six minutes to play, the two teams traded missed shots and possessions, but neither was able to break through for the decisive goal. But with 2:28 remaining in the fourth quarter, Penn goalkeeper Brian Feeney saved Matt Gibson’s ’12 wraparound shot from the right side of the net, and the Quakers cleared the ball into their offensive end with the score knotted at nine.

    Yale called timeout off of a Penn missed shot with 1:25 to go, and Penn held the ball behind the net to try for the last shot in regulation. With 30 seconds remaining, Quaker attackman Dan Savage dodged from behind the net. Two passes later Penn’s John Conneely ripped an open shot at Bulldog netminder Jack Meyer ’14 from 12 yards out. Conneely had already found the net once that day, but this time Meyer snatched the ball out of the air and hit Johnson sprinting up the field for a fast break.

    Johnson flew across the midfield line ahead of the Quaker midfielders and when the Penn defense rotated to pick him up, he found Dempster waiting on the back pipe. Dempster worked his way towards the front of the cage with a Penn defenseman on his back and a referee’s flag flew up for a penalty on the Quakers, but a second later the junior slotted the ball past Feeney for the game-winning goal.

    Dempster, who had been out with an injury for the past three games, was the spark plug for the Eli offense on Saturday. In the first half he scored two straight extra man goals on passes from Gibson to break a 2–2 tie for the Bulldogs. During Yale’s next man-up opportunity, the Quakers locked off Gibson, hoping that the Bulldog offense would stall without the team’s top playmaker. The tactic failed, as midfielder Shane Thornton ’15 found Dempster in the middle for his third tally of the day.

    Later, in the third quarter, Gibson located Dempster near the goal again, this time with the Penn defense at full strength, and the junior put in his fourth goal to put Yale up 8–5. All of Gibson’s team-high three assists were to Dempster on Saturday, and the Bulldogs will look for this chemistry — and Dempster’s stellar play — to continue for the rest of the season.

    “I’ve been hurt the last two weeks so I haven’t played with [Gibson] a lot, but we worked well together on extra man,” Dempster said after the game. “Somehow it just clicked today.”

    The Bulldogs also got big performances out of midfielders Greg Mahony ’12 and Dylan Levings ’14. Mahony scored his first goal less than five minutes into the game when he worked his way open from 12 yards out and ripped a shot past Penn goalkeeper Brendan Engelke. Engelke started the game but was replaced at halftime by Feeney. Mahony’s second score, another rocket from a few yards inside the restraining box, broke an 8–8 tie with 9:43 remaining in the fourth quarter.

    Levings, meanwhile, had his best game of the season, winning 17 of 22 faceoffs for the Elis. The sophomore took a beating from the Quaker defenders every time he had to take the ball over the midfield line and even had to sit out after a particularly vicious hit, but came right back onto the field after missing only a single faceoff. Levings also drew the penalty that led to Dempster’s third goal when he was hit in the helmet coming out of the scrum.

    “He was unbelievable,” head coach Andy Shay said of his faceoff specialist. “We knew he had that kind of game in him, and he was on fire.”

    Between Levings’ dominance at the X and their 28–19 ground ball advantage, the Bulldogs should have controlled possession easily. But the Elis committed 23 turnovers — 15 in the first half alone — and were successful on only 14 of their 23 clears. After attackman Brandon Mangan ’14 and Mahony put Yale up 2–0 only five minutes into the contest, it looked like the game would be a blowout. But Penn scored its first goal later in the first quarter when Meyer, who otherwise played well en route to nine saves on Saturday, turned the ball over on the clear, leading to an easy one-on-one goal for Quaker midfielder Ryan Parietti. Captain Michael Pratt ’12 said that Yale overcame these mistakes by winning ground balls and working hard on defense.

    “It’s really important to hustle and get ground balls when you’re not playing well, and we did a great job of that today,” Pratt added.

    His coach took a slightly more critical view of the situation.

    “It was ugly,” Shay said, “but we’ll take it.”

    Pratt scored to give Yale a commanding 7–3 lead going into halftime, but the Bulldogs’ mistakes allowed the Quakers to climb back into the game. Savage and Schwalje scored three straight times for Penn at the start of the final quarter to tie the game at eight. But just as the Tigers ruined the Bulldogs’ comeback last weekend, Dempster and the Elis stopped the Quakers in their tracks on Saturday.

    Saturday’s matchup came after three straight games against teams ranked in the top 13 in the country. While the Elis pushed their opponents to the edge in the last two of these contests, they came away with two losses. Already 0–2 in the Ivy League heading into Saturday’s matchup, the Bulldogs recognized their season could slip away with a loss to Penn. Shay credited his players for staying dedicated to the team.

    “I’m really proud of these guys,” Shay said. “They haven’t deviated from the plan at all, they just stuck with it and kept grinding, and it worked out for them today.”

    The Bulldogs travel to Providence on Tuesday to take on the Friars in a 7 p.m. game.

  8. M. LACROSSE | Elis look for first Ivy win

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    One week after playing the longest game in the history of Yale men’s lacrosse, the Bulldogs will take the field again tomorrow against Penn in search of their first Ivy League win of the season.

    The Elis (2–4, 0–2 Ivy) played well in each of their first two conference matchups, but were nonetheless denied wins by No. 5 Cornell and No. 17 Princeton. Two weeks ago the Bulldogs pushed the Big Red to the brink in Ithaca, N.Y., but they ultimately came up one goal short. Last weekend Yale returned home to face Princeton and battled for five overtime periods before falling 10–9 to the Tigers. That game featured a two-goal comeback with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter and a Herculean defensive effort by the Bulldogs for the first 18 minutes of overtime. Ultimately, though, the Tigers came away with the win.

    “The loss is tough to take right now,” goalkeeper Jack Meyer ’14 said after the Princeton game. “But we just need to get at each other in practice, hustle, and continue to play Yale lacrosse. That will be a recipe for success going forward.”

    Yale has now played three consecutive games against ranked opponents — the other contest was an 11–7 loss to No. 7 Lehigh — and have not won since a victory over Albany in the second game of the season. The Elis need a win this weekend to get their season back on track and give themselves a chance to qualify for the Ivy League tournament.

    The Quakers (1–5, 0–2 Ivy) have had an even tougher schedule than the Bulldogs. Each of their six opponents so far this season has been ranked in the top 15 in the country. Interestingly, however, Penn’s worst loss, an 11–4 drubbing at the hands of the Tigers, came to the lowest-rated of these teams.

    Both teams played their first two conference games against Cornell and Princeton and the Quakers and Elis share an opponent in Lehigh as well. Neither Yale nor Penn was able to come away with a victory in any of these contests, although the Bulldogs lost their games by an aggregate score of 29–23 while the Quakers were outscored by a 37–19 margin.

    The last time these two teams met, Penn came back from three goals down in the first half to beat the Elis 10–9 in triple overtime at Franklin Field. In that game as well the Bulldogs came back from a two-goal fourth quarter deficit to force overtime, but were not able to convert that momentum into a win.

    Yale won 16 of 23 faceoffs in that contest and will need to dominate at the X again if they are to prevail this time around. Midfielder Dylan Levings ’14, who shares Yale’s faceoffs with Cole Yeager ’13, is ranked sixth in the country with a .625 winning percentage. Levings was in top form last weekend against Princeton, winning seven of his last eight faceoffs when the Bulldogs needed him in the fourth quarter and overtime.

    The Elis also got a strong performance out of Meyer last week. In his third game as the starter, the sophomore made a career-high 14 saves, including three in the second overtime period alone.

    Attackman Conrad Oberbeck ’15 has also made a strong impact in only his first year on the team. Oberbeck leads the team in goals with 14 and is third with 17 points. His .500 shooting percentage also makes him the Bulldogs most efficient offensive weapon this season.

    Tomorrow’s game at Reese Stadium is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

  9. M. LACROSSE | Elis fight to five overtimes in longest game in history

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    In the longest game in Yale men’s lacrosse history at Reese Stadium on Saturday, the Tigers finally got the better of the Bulldogs.

    No. 13 Princeton (5–2, 2–0 Ivy) took a 10–9 win, but the Elis (2–4, 0–2 Ivy) pushed their opponents to the brink during the 78-minute matchup, which went into five overtimes.

    “I’ve never played in, seen, or coached a game where a team put forth such an effort,” head coach Andy Shay said in an email. “I couldn’t be prouder of this team.”

    The crowd of more than 1,000, one of the largest ever at Reese stadium, witnessed one of the most exciting and memorable games in college lacrosse this year. Down by three goals with less than four minutes remaining, the Bulldogs came roaring back and scored their final two goals with less than one minute remaining to force overtime.

    The teams battled back and forth for four extra periods, but neither was able to break the stalemate. In the fourth overtime, each team had an extra-man opportunity, and Yale almost scored on a clever trick play, but both goalkeepers and defenses held strong. It was the second outstanding defensive performance from the Bulldogs in two weeks, after they held the nation’s top-ranked offense to its lowest output of the season in last weekend’s one-goal loss to Cornell.

    “Our coaches have been telling us during practice that there are two things we can control: hustle and communication,” goalkeeper Jack Meyer ’14 said of the defense. “We’ve been working very hard on those and I think it shows. Peter Johnson [’13] was covering one of the best players in the country and kept him quiet and Harry [Kucharczyk ’15] had some great ground balls for us [on Saturday].”

    Finally, two minutes and 21 seconds into the fifth extra period, Princeton midfielder Alex Capretta scored from eight yards out off a pass from Tucker Shanley to bring the game to a close. It was Capretta’s third goal of the game and he led all scorers on both teams. Midfielder Tom Shreiber, who is tied for fifth in the country with 4.5 points per game also had two goals and two assists for the Tigers.

    Attackman Brandon Mangan ’14 led scoring for the Bulldogs with two goals and three assists, and attackman Conrad Oberbeck ’15 also contributed two goals and an assist. Oberbeck’s assist pulled the Elis within one when Mangan scored with 47 seconds left in the fourth quarter and gave the team a chance to send the game to overtime.

    After Mangan’s goal, midfielder Dylan Levings ’14 won the faceoff, pushing the ball cleanly in front of him, and came down the field looking to score. The Tigers had no answer for Levings, who won seven of the last eight faceoffs in the fourth quarter and overtime. Princeton sent four different men to the X against Levings, but he continued to dominate.

    On this attempt, Levings’ shot flew high over the net. Yale backed up Levings’ shot, and 18 seconds later midfielder Greg Mahony ’12 ran through a double team, curled around the right side of the net and slotted the ball past Princeton netminder Tyler Fiorito to tie the game and electrify the Yale faithful watching.

    In the first overtime period, it appeared this momentum would be short-lived, as the Princeton offense ran roughshod over Yale’s defense but failed to find the net. The Tigers had six shots in the period and hit the pipe twice, but the Bulldogs regrouped and proceeded to shut down the Tiger offense for the next three periods.

    “Our communication lapsed a little bit in that first period,” Meyer said. “But we buckled down after we saw that we could survive and we kept playing hard and talking to each other the rest of the way.”

    Meyer rose to the occasion on Saturday and played his best collegiate game. The sophomore had a career-high 14 saves, including three in the second overtime to keep the Elis in the game. When the Princeton onslaught threatened to overwhelm Yale’s defense in the first overtime period, Meyer composed himself in goal and recommitted his focus for the rest of the game.

    The Bulldogs also got an inspired performance from midfielder Michael Pratt ’12. Pratt, the team’s captain, was all over the field on Saturday and seemed to will the Elis into overtime. His goal with 3:19 remaining in the fourth started the Yale comeback, and his dodge from the left side set up Mangan’s goal a few minutes later. After a hard collision with a Tiger in the first overtime, Pratt had to be helped and almost carried off the field with little sign of returning. But a few minutes later he was right back on the field and continued to make big plays on the defensive end for the rest of the game.

    During the last two weeks, the Elis held their own against their two toughest conference opponents, even if the team ultimately came up short. Two weeks into the conference season, the Bulldogs are hoping to gain a spot in the top four conference teams to enter into the Ivy League tournament.

    “It’s a tough loss to take and we’re reeling right now, but this is going to make us a tougher team going forward,” Meyer said. “I’m really proud of the way we fought out there.”

    Next Saturday, the Bulldogs face off against Penn at Reese stadium. The game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

  10. M. LACROSSE | Yale looks to snap losing streak

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    The tough road to the Ivy League tournament continues this week as the Bulldogs return home to take on the Princeton Tigers (4-2, 1-0 Ivy) at Reese Stadium on Saturday. The Elis (2-3, 0-1 Ivy) have dropped their last three games, including their first loss to Lehigh since 1918, but the team still has reason to be optimistic. In its most recent game, Yale fell by a single goal to a tough Cornell team that is currently ranked No. 4 in the country. Although it was another defeat, the Bulldogs showed a fighting mentality that had been missing in their previous losses to Lehigh and Holy Cross.

    “Princeton is a tough team,” captain Michael Pratt ’12 said. “But we just have to learn from our mistakes and keep playing with the same effort and intensity that we had [against Cornell], and I think we’ll be fine.”

    Last weekend it was the Elis’ defense that kept the team in the game against Cornell, and the Bulldogs will need a similar defensive effort against the Tigers. Yale held the Big Red’s top-ranked scoring offense to its lowest output of the season and held one of the most prolific attack units in the country to two goals. Princeton’s offense is averaging 11 goals per game and is ranked 16th in the country, four spots behind Yale.

    The Tigers’ strength, however, lies in their defense. Princeton is sixth in the nation in scoring defense, with a 7.33 goals against average. Last weekend the Tigers smothered the Penn offense, allowing only four goals to earn an 11-4 victory in their Ivy League opener.

    The Elis’ attacking trio of Matt Gibson ’12, Brandon Mangan ’14 and Conrad Oberbeck ’15 lead Yale’s offense in scoring and are averaging over six goals per game between them. They have accounted for over half of the team’s goals thus far this season and will bear the brunt of the scoring burden against the Tigers. Oberbeck has been particularly efficient; the freshman has scored on 54.5 percent of his shot attempts this year.

    The Bulldogs will also try to take advantage of their effective faceoff play. Yale’s faceoff unit of Cole Yeager ’13 and Dylan Levings ’14 have won 58 percent of their draws this season, including 11 of 17 last weekend at Cornell. Princeton’s junior midfielder Bobby Lucas has had success at the faceoff xas well this year. Lucas has won 54.7 percent of his contests, and this weekend’s matchup will be an opportunity to see if Levings and Yeager can continue their dominance against elite competition.

    Only the top four teams in the Ivy League make the conference’s postseason tournament, so a loss this weekend will give the Elis a lot of ground to make up going forward. A win should give the Elis a huge momentum boost going into next week’s game against Penn. This three-week stretch against the Big Red, Tigers and Quakers represents the gauntlet of the six-game Ivy League schedule. After next week, the Bulldogs will have to wait until April 28, their season finale against Harvard, to face another Ivy League contender.

    Tomorrow’s game is scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. at Reese Stadium.

  11. M. LACROSSE | Bulldogs drop close contest to Big Red

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    After two difficult losses to Holy Cross and Lehigh last week, the men’s lacrosse team (2–3, 0–1 Ivy) fell just short in a valiant effort against No. 4 Cornell on Saturday in Ithaca, N.Y.

    Attackman Conrad Oberbeck ’15 evened the scoring at 7–7 with just under six minutes remaining in the game, but Cornell’s All-American midfielder Roy Lang dodged and pinned his shot in the top right corner only 30 seconds later to put the Big Red (4–1, 1–0 Ivy) back on top. Despite several scoring opportunities, the Bulldogs could not answer and fell, 8–7, to the defending Ivy League champions.

    “After a tough week, we had a good week of practice, and it showed out there on the field,” captain Michael Pratt ’12 said. “We played well, but we just came up one goal short.”

    The Bulldog defense held the high-powered Big Red offense to its lowest scoring output of the season. Cornell’s vaunted attacking unit, which was averaging over eight goals per game going into the weekend, managed only two in the first half against the Elis. Big Red junior Connor English scored both of these goals.

    Defensive coordinator Ryan Polley said the key to the Elis’ defensive success was the combination of outstanding individual efforts and solid team play.

    “Peter Johnson ’13 was matched up against a talented freshman and held him scoreless,” Polley said. “He shook him up a little and took him out of his game. Michael McCormack ’13 also had a tough matchup and kept his man scoreless. As a team we did a nice job of playing together and containing what [Cornell] wanted to do offensively.”

    The Bulldogs also dominated at the faceoff, winning 11 of 17 draws against a Cornell unit that is ranked third in the nation. Cole Yeager ’13 won five of his eight faceoffs, and Dylan Levings ’14, who is ranked ninth in the country in winning percentage, added six more of his own.

    The Elis got a strong performance out of goalkeeper Jack Meyer ’14, who faced a tough challenge against the nation’s top-scoring offense in his second collegiate start. Meyer saved six of Cornell’s 14 shots on goal and anchored Yale’s stingy defense. After the Big Red outscored the Bulldogs 3–1 in the second quarter, Meyer made three big saves in the third period to stop Cornell’s momentum and keep Yale in the game.

    “We forced them to shoot from the outside, and Jack Meyer made key saves for us [on Saturday],” Polley said.

    On the offensive side of the ball, the Bulldogs got two goals apiece from their three attackmen — Matt Gibson ’12, Brandon Mangan ’14 and Oberbeck. Midfielder Matt Miller ’12 opened the scoring for Yale three minutes into the first quarter on a pass from Greg Mahony ’12. Later in the period, with Cornell leading 2–1, the trio of Bulldog attackmen notched three goals in three minutes, and Yale went into the first break up 4–2.

    A three-minute nonreleasable illegal stick penalty gave the Big Red a major extra-man opportunity to start the second period, but Meyer made two of his six saves during that span and the Elis kept Cornell off the scoreboard. Later, in the third period, the Bulldogs had to kill another nonreleasable penalty after long-stick midfielder Jimmy Craft ’14 was flagged for an illegal body check.

    Yale was a man down on defense for two minutes this time but once again held the Big Red man-up team scoreless. Overall, Cornell was held to a single extra-man goal during seven minutes of Yale penalties. Polley said the Bulldogs’ effective man-down play was a feature of the defense’s strong showing on Saturday.

    Shortly after Yale’s illegal stick penalty expired, English capitalized on the exhausted Bulldog defense for his second tally of the game. Less than a minute later, the Big Red scored its only extra-man goal of the game to equalize at 4–4.

    The teams battled back and forth for the rest of the way, but neither was able to pull away. When the Elis took a 5–4 lead, Cornell answered to knot the score at five going into the half. Twice during the second half, the Big Red took the lead only to have the Bulldogs respond with a goal of their own.

    Lang’s goal put Cornell up 8–7, and Yale won the faceoff. After a patient offensive possession, Oberbeck’s shot bounced off the post and away from goal. The Elis got another chance to tie the game in the final minute, but Gibson’s shot missed wide, and the clock ran out before the Bulldog’s could get another shot.

    Cornell played its third consecutive game without star attackman Rob Pannell, the reigning national player of the year. But the Big Red were still able to force overtime against No. 1 Virginia in last Saturday’s game before losing by one. Cornell lost to the nation’s best team by the same narrow margin, 8–7, by which Yale fell to Cornell.

    The Bulldogs go on to play Princeton on Saturday at noon at Reese Stadium. Pratt said the matchup will be a close contest.

    “Princeton’s a tough team, all the team’s in this league are tough,” Pratt said. “We just have to learn from our mistakes and keep playing with the same effort and intensity that we had this week and I think we’ll be fine.”

    The No. 14 Tigers opened their season Saturday with an 11–4 win over Penn.