Sessa, Alessi Get 3 Goals Each
ALBANY, NY – The Yale men's lacrosse team's win streak came to an end at seven games when No. 5 Albany erased a pair of four-goal deficits in the second half to snatch a 13-12 win before 3,205 at Casey Stadium.
The No. 11 Bulldogs (8-4, 5-0 Ivy) had three goals each from Joseph Sessa and Jason Alessi and were up 9-5 in the third quarter and 12-8 in the fourth before the Great Danes (11-2) raced back with five straight tallies.
Albany, which had a nine-game win streak this year, was the highest ranked squad Yale had faced since visiting top-ranked Maryland in game two of the season. The Bulldogs were primed for the battle of highly-ranked teams but let this one slip through their paws with 16 turnovers.
Untimely miscues combined with just two goals from its top three net hitters made it more impressive that head coach Andy Shay's team nearly won a very challenging road contest against a national power.
In addition to Sessa and Alessi's offensive outbursts, six other teammates each found the net once. However, All-American Ben Reeves, senior standout Eric Scott and rookie sensation Matt Gaudet combined for just two goals and four points.
"Guys stepped up," said Shay. "It's the way [stop the top 3 guys] to play us. The other guys stepped up. "We just needed to be cleaner in the fourth and the game might have been different."
The Elis scored the first two goals (Jack Tigh, Lucas Cotler), were down 5-3 in the second and then raced back to grab a 6-5 lead heading into intermission. They managed to have the lead at the half and over most of the last 30 minutes because Conor Mackie was winning face-offs (16-29) and grabbing ground balls (12) while Phil Huffard (11 saves) was making momentum-swinging saves.
Yale captain Brian Pratt, who made some amazing shot blocks late in last week's win over Brown, was at it again tonight. He put his body on the line a number of times, and that was a crucial element in the visitors taking the big leads.
"It was a great college lacrosse game. We played well at times and poorly at times," said Shay. "We lost a bunch of possessions late in the game, and that was probably the difference."
The Elis complete the Ivy slate and the 2017 regular season by playing Harvard at Boston a week from today. A win in the 2 p.m. game at Harvard Stadium would give the Blue its first perfect league season since the 1956 team went 5-0 in the inaugural Ivy campaign. In two weeks, the Bulldogs host their first Ivy Tournament as the top seed with a 6 p.m. semifinal game on May 5.
Ben Reeves scored his 99th collegiate goal tonight… Yale was playing another program that clinched its regular-season title (America East) and will host the conference championships… The Bulldogs have been without senior defenseman Camyar Matini since he was injured in the Penn game… Senior attackman Jeff Cimbalista played in the first three games before suffering a season-ending injury.
by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director – firstname.lastname@example.org