Bryant Holds On For 9-7 Win
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – At times the game had the feeling of an intense men's lacrosse league rivalry in front of a big crowd on a classic New England night. The Yale Bulldogs are glad it was only the last non-league game of the year. Max Weisbenberg had three goals and one assist and Andy Hennessey won 12 of 19 face-offs as visiting Bryant upset the No. 9 Elis 9-7 before 987 at Reese Stadium.
Bryant (9-5), which dominated the possessions and hounded Yale's offense, never trailed in the first meeting of the two Bulldog squads. The Bulldogs from Rhode Island ended Yale's win streak at five games with great goaltending by Jameson Love, who had eight saves and a number of key stops while the Elis were on the comeback trail.
Yale (9-3) got a pair of goals from Gregory Mahony and a goal each from five other players on a night when nothing was clicking for more than a moment. Senior Max Rodman fought valiantly on every face-off, but could not help his Bulldogs retain enough possessions.
Both teams had 27 ground balls, though Yale had more shots (27-23) and fewer turnovers (13-20). However, three or four of the Blue's lost balls came at key times with a comeback in sight.
“We lost focus on our opponent. Bryant was very focused and took it to us,” said Yale head coach Andy Shay. “They [Bryant] played great defensively and were very physical on the ball.”
The Elis trailed 8-3 midway through the third before tallying four of the last five goals to make it close. Bryant did a great job of running out the clock and forcing desperate defensive measures. Shay's team repeatedly forced turnovers and opportunities to begin a run that just would not materialize.
“It was a never-ending cycle. They had long possessions and it ate away at us,” said Shay. “We just didn't have the ball enough.”
Mahony, who got his 16th and 17th goals of the year, had two in a row that closed the gap to three goals at the start of the fourth.
“They have an unconventional defense, one we haven't seen before. It took a while to get used to it,” said Mahoney. “Once you get in a hole, it's only natural to have individuals trying to do too much rather than play as a team. We started to work as a team, but it was too little, too late.”
Johnathan Falcone, Yale's junior goalie, did not make a stop in the first quarter and finished with four saves on the cold night. He got his body on a few quality chances that would have decided the game earlier had they found the net.
Michael Pratt led the Blue with five ground balls and helped ignite the transition game a few times when his squad really needed a lift. The only problem was that once Yale managed to get to the cage, Love was making big stops.
The two teams traded the first four goals before Bryant broke open a 2-2 game with three straight and six of the next seven.
The Elis end the 2010 regular season with an Ivy League showdown against Harvard (winners over Princeton today) next Saturday at 1 p.m. at Reese Stadium. That contest could determine one of the four spots for the league post-season tournament.
Story and photo filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director