Defense Has Another Great Day
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – There was no panic in the Bulldog when the Great Dane was winning in the X and controlling the ball on the way to a 3-1 lead at the end of the first quarter. The No. 16 Yale men's lacrosse team went on to score the next four goals and never looked back in a 13-7 win over Albany at Reese Stadium that improved its record to 2-0.
"They pressed out and we didn't handle it as well as we normally do," said Yale head coach Andy Shay. "We fought through it and stuck to our game plan. We had to grind it out. It was a total team effort."
Matt Gibson had two goals and four assists, Conrad Oberbeck hit the net three times and the Elis also got big days from Greg Mahony (2-2-4) and Brandon Mangan (2-1-3) to hand Albany its third straight loss to a ranked team this season.
However, the offense wasn't the only reason the Bulldogs are perfect after two games. Yale forced 20 turnovers with an aggressive, ball-hawking defense. Peter Johnson had four of the Blue's 11 caused turnovers, while he and Jimmy Craft picked up five ground balls on a day the home team enjoyed a 43-26 overall advantage.
"They [Albany] have a great attack, but we did a great job of executing our game plan and sliding to their attack," said Craft. "Our game plan was to slide to his [Miles Thompson] back and double him as much as possible. Peter Johnson did a great job of getting balls on the ground for us."
The Yale defense has held its first two opponents to a combined 13 goals.
While Craft, Johnson and freshman goalie Eric Natale (6 saves) were having an impact at one end, Gibson was working his magic at the other. His first tally, off a pass from defenseman Michael McCormack, closed out a four-goal run that erased the 3-1 deficit and gave the Bulldogs a 5-3 lead in the second quarter. He also started the key offensive run by hitting Deron Dempster from behind the net for an easy tally at 14:44 of the second. Gibson's second goal, the result of a nifty spin move from the side of the net, put the game out of reach at 9-5 late in the third.
"I team like Albany is going to give you a crazy game and try to bring you to that level. They can force you to make crazy decisions. We played our game and did not fall into that hectic trap," said Gibson, who made a great lead pass in the third quarter to set up Matt Miller for a score. "We didn't score too many conventional goals today, it was more of a grind."
Albany (0-3) was led by Joe Resetarits' three goals and four points, while John Carroll made 10 saves.
Yale's lack of success on the X early in the game didn't stop Cole Yeager (7-12) or the home team (15-24) from figuring out what was wrong on face-offs. Dylan Levings, who won eight of 12 face-offs and had five ground balls, won the most important battles in the second quarter to bring the Blue back.
The wealth was well-spread among the Bulldogs, who had a 38-28 edge in shots and had a pair of four-goal runs. A dozen players attempted shots, eight different Elis hit the net.
"This is an unselfish and balanced group. They don't care who gets the glory," said Shay, whose squad hosts Sacred Heart at Reese Stadium Tuesday night at 7.
Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director