Yale Opens Season With a Bang
Bulldogs Blast Red Storm
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The No. 18 Yale men's lacrosse team opened the 2012 season with its offense clicking and the defense in shut-down mode as the Bulldogs cruised to a 19-6 win over St. John's at Reese Stadium.
Ten different players scored goals, including four-goal, five-point outings from both Matt Gibson and Brandon Mangan, as the Elis outshot the Red Storm 45-21 and had the edge in almost every statistical category.
"Nobody on our sideline was surprised by the 19 goals scored or six allowed," said captain Michael Pratt, who scooped up three ground balls and was all over the field making plays in transition. "To put it all together in our first game feels very good."
Veteran midfielders Gregory Mahony and Matt Miller as well as newcomer attackman Conrad Oberbeck each hit the net twice while sophomore midfielder Ryan McCarthy pitched in a goal and three assists. The other Yale goals came from Colin Still, Mark Dobrosky, Deron Dempster and Colin Flaherty.
The Bulldog faceoff team of Cole Yeager (8-14) and Dylan Levings (9-14) combined to win 17 of the game's 28 battles on the X. The Eli duo helped take the pressure off freshman Eric Natale (2 saves), who was making his collegiate debut in net.
The Yale defense stifled the vaunted St. John's offense for much of the game. Junior Michael McCormack led the Blue defense with four caused turnovers and four ground balls.
"They [St. John's] have a high-powered offense. We just wanted to defend their big-little, and we did a great job of that," said McCormack, who was a big factor on faceoffs as well. "We met our goal today against a really good offense. When they put me on the wing (on faceoffs) I'm able to get in transition more and run the field more."
Matt Miller began the scoring for the 2012 season by hitting the back of the net on a 20-footer at 10:50, the first of six straight goals by six different members of the home team. Yale never looked back from there.
McCarthy, who had a great game working behind the Red Storm net, helped Yale increase the lead to 2-0 by intercepting goalie Jeff Lowman's clearing attempt and sending it over to Mangan for the first of his four tallies.
"We had to keep the ball away from their offense and did that," said Andy Shay, who began his ninth season as the Yale head coach today. "We killed their possessions when we had to and held onto the ball well. I'm proud of the team effort overall. We played a pretty solid game."
By the time Gibson found the net for the first time, the Bulldogs were up 5-0 in the second quarter. The senior attackman was the recipient of a great feed from McCormack, who won the ball off a faceoff.
Gibson, the Yale All-American, spent most of the time with the ball whirling and turning around defenders looking for an opening around the crease. His most gratifying tally of the day came on his final score, a goal that put the Blue up 17-6 late in the fourth.
"I came out from behind the net and the defender gave me a good, hard slash. It was a little pay-back, and there were some words that followed the play. He was pretty upset," said Gibson. "That goal was very satisfying."
St. John's, coming off a win over Holy Cross in its season opener a week ago, scored consecutive goals once in this game and didn't find the net for the first time until 9:27 of the second. The Red Storm, which had 15 turnovers, got three goals from Harry Kutner.
Both teams tallied a pair of extra-man goals… The Blue scored four goals in each of the first three quarters and poured on seven in the fourth frame… Sophomore Jack Meyer was in the Yale goal for the last 2:40 and did not face a shot on net… The game aired live on Yale All Access, the first of seven home contests that will be broadcast on yalebulldogs.com… This was the first official men's lacrosse game on the new Field Turf surface at Reese Stadium… The Elis have been practicing in cold but snowless conditions until Friday's storm dumped a few inches on the field. The snow was piled behind the end lines and the playing surface was excellent… Yale is home again on March 3 to face Albany in a 1 p.m. game.
Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director