Yale Holds Off Dartmouth for Key Ivy Win
from press release
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Every game in the Ivy League is a crucial one for the No. 17 Yale men’s lacrosse team, so today’s 9-7 victory over Dartmouth before a crowd of 1,876 on Reese Stadium Dedication Day could be a significant factor in determining which teams qualify for the second-ever Ivy post-season tournament in May.
The last two Yale-Dartmouth encounters have been dominated by the Bulldog defense, which held the visitors scoreless for 39 straight minutes today while building a six-goal lead early in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs held the Big Green off the scoreboard for the first 37 minutes at Hanover last April.
“It felt similar to last year,” said Johnathan Falcone, who had 10 saves and was very happy with the guys playing in front of him. “I’m really proud of the way everyone played. Our defense forced them to shoot outside and made my job much easier. It was probably the best game we’ve put together this season.”
Falcone stopped all five shots on target in the third quarter, which was the fuel Yale needed to put the game away.
The final score was not indicative of the way the game was played. The Elis dominated in all facets, including shots (48-31), ground balls (37-21) and face-offs (14-20), but let the Big Green grab some momentum over the final two minutes to tally four straight times and make it look close.
“I’m very happy with our effort. We played really well for 58 minutes,” said Yale head coach Andy Shay, referring to the late letup. “Things got away from us, but I credit Dartmouth for playing hard the entire game.”
Brian Douglass had three goals, Gregory Mahony hit the net twice and Matt Gibson tallied a goal and three points as Yale won its second straight game and stayed in contention for one of the four post-season playoff spots. The Elis (7-2, 2-2 Ivy) are now one of four (Harvard, Penn, Dartmouth, Princeton) teams with a pair of Ivy losses trailing 4-0 Cornell.
Mahony got things started two minutes into the game by grabbing a rebound of his own shot that hit the side of the net and quickly firing past Fergus Campbell, who had 15 saves for Dartmouth (4-5, 2-2).
Douglass and Gibson thrilled the large crowd a number of times with their offensive athleticism. Douglass dove for a Brandon Mangan lead pass on the edge of the crease and flipped it home before hitting the ground to give Yale a 2-1 advantage and a lead it would never relinquish. The senior attackman later fed Gibson with a perfect pass to set up a goal.
Meanwhile, Gibson was making great passes and dodges to create opportunities for everyone. The junior attackman’s best move may have been the one that put Yale up 6-3 at the intermission. Gibson sprinted out from behind the goal, turned, jumped and fired over Campbell’s shoulder inside the far post.
Five straight Yale goals broke open a 4-3 game in the second period and Gibson had his hand on three straight.
Those weren’t the only exciting plays on the day. Yale captain Patrick Coleman had a pair that really got his teammates and the fans screaming. The long-stick midfielder stole a pass, ran almost full field and then sent a shot into the net that put the Blue up 5-3 after the visitors had closed the gap.
“I saw an opening and took it. I tried to get it to our point guy but they had it covered,” said Coleman, who now has three goals this spring. “That’s what I am supposed to do… but it’s all gravy when you score.”
In the final frame, he helped the Elis win a face-off by grabbing the ball inches before it hit the sideline, jumping and finding a teammate.
Sophomore faceoff sensation Cole Yeager had another dominating day with 14 wins in 20 attempts to go along with seven ground balls and a goal. He has now won better than 64 percent of his face-offs this season.
“This is another stepping stone in the league,” said Coleman. “You have to take it one day a time. It’s back to the office on Monday.”
Yale, which also got a goal from Michael Pratt, next hosts Brown on Saturday at 1 p.m.
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