March 5, 2010

Gibson Leads Yale To Win Over UMass

BULLDOGS BEAT NO. 12 UMASS 13-12

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale men’s lacrosse team got revenge for its worst loss of the 2009 season by battling its way to a 13-12 victory over No. 12 Massachusetts before 537 at Reese Stadium. The Bulldogs improved to 2-0 by erasing a 7-4 deficit in the second quarter with four straight goals and then holding on to the lead twice.

Matt Gibson, who notched five goals and two assists, hit the net with 34 seconds left to break a 12-12 tie and give the Elis the win.

That was after UMass attackman Steve D’Amario took advantage of an extra-man situation and evened the game with 1:21 left. His goal made it three straight and capped a late comeback that dissolved Yale’s 12-9 fourth-quarter advantage.

Yale outshot UMass 44-30, had more (39-27) ground balls than the visitors and had a big advantage (17-11) in face-offs, thanks to the heroic efforts of senior midfielder Max Rodman.
UMass fell to 2-1 after totaling 35 goals in two large victories to start the 2010 campaign.

Brian Douglass and Gregory Mahony each hit the net twice while Jonathan Falcone had another excellent performance in net, making seven saves. The junior goalie made a few quality saves in the third and fourth that helped prevent an earlier comeback by the favored Amherst boys.

“Our defense played great in the second half, and Jonathan Falcone really stepped it up for us,” said Yale head coach Andy Shay, the former UMass assistant who has won three of the last four meetings with his old school and mentor. “Max Rodman was unbelievable, he really dominated… and Matt Gibson was also great. He had a great player on him all game.”

All the Bulldogs must have been inspired by Gibson’s determination around the Minutemen’s net. On four of his five tallies he bulldozed his way through or slid between defenders to produce seven points, a career-best night for him.

If not for Tim McCormack’s 12 saves in the UMass net, this one could have been over early in the fourth frame. He stopped numerous point-blank shots.

Gibson had not forgotten the last meeting at Amherst, an 18-6 win for the Minutemen.

“They lit us up last year. It was great to get revenge,” said Gibson, who also mentioned how good the UMass team is. “We knew what we had to do offensively, and we knew what they would do defensively. We were well prepared.”

The visitors jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first three minutes before Douglass and Gibson answered. After captain Brendan Gibson tied it 3-3 at 6:50 of the first period, three different UMass players hit the net to give the guys in red the first of two three-goal cushions. One of those tallies came from Will Manny, who had a team-high three goals.

The Elis, who play Presbyterian College at the Collegiate School in Richmond, Va., on Sunday at 1 pm, found themselves down 6-3 and 7-4 before reeling off four straight to grab a brief first-half lead, 8-7. Mahony, Douglass, Matt Gibson and Colin Still beat McCormack in the biggest run by either side.

The last three goals of the half came in the last 59 seconds, including a UMass score with nine ticks left.

The Yale defense kicked into high gear in the third quarter and blanked the team that entered the weekend leading the nation in scoring. Bobby Hayes, who had two goals, notched the Minutemen’s first tally of the second half at 4:51 of the fourth. That was the first of three straight to tie the score.

When Manny hit the net with 2:14 left to make it 12-11, the Bulldogs were called for a penalty that helped set up the tying tally. UMass won the ensuing face-off, but the Yale defense came up with another big play.

Mike Pratt, a sophomore midfielder, scooped up a ground ball in the UMass end, raced down the field inside the box and was whacked from behind. He fell and the ball came loose. Douglass was in the right place and picked it up and saw Matt Gibson alone on the edge of the crease.

“Dougie [Douglass] picked up the ground ball. There was chaos,” said Matt Gibson, who scored three times while coming from behind the net and diving out in front. “I was waiting for it and he was able to get it to me. Pratt made the play by clearing it.”
Rodman then won another face-off and the Bulldogs held on for the win.

“This feels great. We have worked so hard in the off-season,” said Matt Gibson. “Last year I would have been worried about holding on to the lead, but I wasn’t scared tonight.”

Shay obviously was pleased with his team in every facet. “It was a great effort. Truly one of the best games I've ever seen.”



Report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director

Matt Gibson image by Sam Rubin '95