Men’s lacrosse falls to No. 11 Yale

by Emily Wechsler | 4/5/15 6:26pm

The men’s lacrosse team dropped its match Saturday at Yale University’s Reese Stadium, falling to the No. 11 Bulldogs 10-4. The loss brings the Big Green’s total record to 3-5, with the team 1-2 in the Ivy League after an overtime win against Harvard University on March 21 and an 8-2 loss last weekend against Cornell University. Between the two Ivy games, the Big Green secured a 16-15 win over the University of Vermont on March 24. .

The men have a new-found confidence in their abilities under first-year head coach Brendan Callahan and headed into the match undeterred by Yale’s top-15 ranking, coaches and players said.

“We believe that we deserved to be on the field with those guys, but we didn’t make enough plays in the game to get a win,” Callahan said.

Despite the team’s confidence in their own abilities against the Bulldogs, the team came out flat in the first quarter, showing less of the energy that has earned them early goals in other games. The Big Green ended the first quarter without a tally on the board and behind by four. Trends from previous games show that when the Big Green men don’t score early, they are less likely to win. The quarter ended 4-0 in Yale’s favor.

In the second quarter, the men got on the board with an unassisted goal from Wiley Osborne ’17. Yale managed to find the back of Dartmouth’s net twice more and go up 6-1 before Evan Key ’18 put one away off an Osborne assist.

“We didn’t make enough plays early in the game, and that just kind of put us in a hole,” Osborne said.

The third period saw the Big Green tally its final two goals of the match, though the team took only four shots. In the same time, the Bulldogs outshot the Big Green by seven attempts, scoring four additional goals before the period ended. Osborne notched a second goal with an assist from KC Beard ’16 before collecting his own assist on a goal from Cam Lee ’16. Osborne extended his lead as the top point-scorer for the Big Green by notching his 21st point of the season, well in front of Jack Korzelius ’18, whose 13 points this season place him in second overall. All 13 of Korzelius’ points come from goals, compared to Osborne’s nine goals and 12 assists. Osborne is third overall in goals, led by Korzelius and Adam Fishman ’15, with 13 and 10 respectively..

“Right after the half it felt like we were getting to make a run, but they sort of answered right back and scored on the next possession and started to put the game out of reach,” Callahan said. “That’s what good teams do. Every time we had a push, they had an answer for us.”

The fourth quarter saw action around the cages — 12 shots total — but no goals for either team. Both goalkeepers, the Big Green’s Blair Friedensohn ’16 and senior Eric Natale for Yale, ended the game with 10 saves.

“I don’t think anyone on the team is satisfied,” Osborne said. “We all still think we could beat them if we played the kind of game that we wanted to play.”

The 10-4 loss doesn’t look good, but it seems players and coaches are solid in their belief that they can reach the top four in the Ivies.

“I think the confidence level is still high,” Osborne said. “We’re 1-2 in the Ivy League, we’re right there with a bunch of teams. With three games left, if we can come out and play the kind of game that we do want to play in our next three games, I think we’re going to be in a really good position.”

There were some good spots of play for the Big Green. Bobby Osgood ’15, a long-stick midfielder, had a strong game against Yale, according to coaches and teammates, helping the team in transition and making impressive interceptions. Friedensohn played particularly well in the second half and continued to be a key to the defense, and Osborne stood out as a contributor by scoring or assisting on all four goals.

Aside from the score, the men’s stats put them nearly even with Yale.

One of the Big Green’s primary focuses this year has been winning the 50-50 situations that are ground balls. The team tries to win this area each game, players said. Yesterday they managed to do so, collecting 25 ground balls to Yale’s 20. The Big Green also controlled nine of 17 faceoffs and took 28 shots to Yale’s 31.

“[The Bulldogs] were able to turn those shots and ground balls into goals, and we struggled to do that,” Osborne said, “We want to keep working to out-groundball every team, out-compete them, but right now it’s got to be all about the details so we can actually turn those ground balls and possessions into goals.”

The men had just three more turnovers than Yale and converted on most of their clears, only failing to convert two of their total 19.

This means the team will likely focus this week on their “systems,” which were not quite together in the Yale game. With a shooting percentage at just 14.3 percent, Osborne said the team is likely to spend some time with their skills in that area. Yet the team was earning good looks at the cage, and doesn’t need to grossly overhaul its ideas.

The team will also likely run some faster practices to combat the slow start it had against Yale, Jack Connolly ’16 said.

“I think now we’ve gotten to the point with our mentality and all the other things we need to do to compete in a game, we’ve done those things now, so I think now it comes down to execution of our systems, execution in our shooting, in our fundamentals,” Callahan said. “Now, when we’re playing good teams in the league week after week we have to… focus in on all the details of what it takes to get better.”

The team will also likely discuss their man-up and man-down play. Particularly on the man down, the Big Green has been strong this season, so going one-for-four when up and allowing Yale to go three-for-four with the advantage is a step backwards for the team.

“I’m feeling mixed emotions about it,” Connolly said. “We came out flat and started slow against a really good team and definitely didn’t execute well enough in our systems to beat a team of that caliber. But at the same time, I think everyone on our team and in the program believes that we took huge steps forward in our belief as a program that we can compete with a team like that, so I think we’ll be even more ready for Princeton [University] next week.”

The men will return home to Scully-Fahey Field to face Princeton Saturday at 1 p.m.