No. 20 Elis Win 5th Straight
STONY BROOK, N.Y. – The No. 20 Yale men's lacrosse team is getting used to the pressure of sudden death situations, experiencing 10 overtime sessions in 2012. Tonight was the latest extra session thriller, a 9-8 win at Stony Brook, won by Greg Mahony at 2:54 of the first OT.
The Bulldogs, who improved to 7-4 with a fifth straight victory, finished off their road schedule in fine fashion.
The Seawolves were given a 30-second penalty for too many players on the field, and the senior Eli midfielder jumped all over the opportunity.
"You don't see a lot of man-up opportunities in overtime games, and the defense was locking off Matt Gibson (2 goals) behind, so that left a lot more space up top, and we were working the ball around," said Mahony, who led the Blue with three goals on his best outing of the season. "I noticed my defender was a little more sloughed in than they usually are on me, and so I just took an outside shot, and closed my eyes and prayed."
His prayer was answered with a second consecutive OT win.
Yale, which has shown a lot of poise early in games when trailing, got behind 4-1 after two quarters before rallying for three of the next four tallies to cut the margin to one in the third. The Bulldogs, who have already qualified for their third straight Ivy League Tournament, were down 7-5 and then hit the net three times over the last eight minutes of regulation to send the game to the extra session.
"I think we were tired coming off our Friday game, but I bet if you go back and look at the film, we're running our offense well," said Mahony. "We were getting decent shots, the shots just weren't going, so the scoreboard was a little bit skewed towards the Stony Brook side. I don't think it reflected our level of play."
This was the second straight OT game for the Elis, who survived four extra frames at Brown on Friday night to clinch the playoff spot.
"Our shots were not very good in the first half. We struggled to possess the ball, so it made it tough for us, but the kids have been in these close games so much, they don't get flustered," said Yale head coach Andy Shay. "We definitely played a lot better in the second half. We kind of challenged our guys at half time, and they responded."
Yale outshot Stony Brook 43-22 and had 10 more ground balls than the home team. The Seawolves (4-8), who have never beaten the Blue, had seven more turnovers than the Elis.
"They were really moving the ball well in the first half. I think they were getting some pretty good skip passes and stuff, so in the second half, we kind of just changed around our game plan a little. Our coach told us to stay on our guys more, to not slide as much because that's what they wanted us to do. They were looking to feed and not to score as much, so we didn't slide as much, and I think it helped us a lot," said defenseman Michael McCormack who notched his first goal of the year to cut Stony Brook's lead to 3-1 in the opening frame.
Sophomore face-off specialist Dylan Levings had another strong showing by winning 13 of 21 attempts and scooping up seven ground balls. His help in possession time allowed five different teammates to hit the net, including Deron Dempster (2) and Shane Thornton.
"In the first half, our offense, we just weren't clicking. We were trying to force inside," said Dempster. "I know I missed a couple of passes, but you know that happens in games, and we just wanted to make sure we kept to our plan. We knew the shots were going to fall, but we just kept moving the ball around, not being selfish, and getting everyone included."
"We had a couple of slow starts," said Pratt, the Yale captain. "We hadn't really put together a great game on both sides of the ball, but this team has a great fight in it, and we've been in this situation obviously many times before, so we know how to handle it by now."
The Bulldogs, who have played four straight road games, finish the regular season by hosting Bryant on Friday and then Harvard on April 28.
"We've been playing well so far. We've been able to scratch out games, and now we've got two big games at home, finally. Hopefully, we'll just get some momentum going into the Ivy tournament," said Pratt.
Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director