Yale Defense Limits Thompsons
from press release
ALBANY, N.Y. – The Yale men's lacrosse team stepped up in its second game of the season to bring down the ranked Albany Great Danes 15-8 and move its record to 1-1. After coming off a tough season-opening loss against St. John's last week, the Bulldogs improved on what they needed to - finishing their shots and holding on to possessions to win in a decisive fashion.
Albany led the game for the beginning of the first quarter, 2-1, until Junior John Ambrose picked up a ground ball in the defensive zone. He ran up the midfield wing, where he passed it off to senior captain Michael McCormack, who passed it off to sophomore Conrad Oberbeck, who was standing in front of the net. He turned, shot, and scored to tie the game, 2-2. The Great Danes would not lead the game again.
Albany, ranked 19/20, opened their season stronger than ever before - beating their instate rivals Syracuse for the first time ever. After losing their second game of the season to Drexel, two of the starting attack of the Thompson Trio, cousins Lyle and Ty Thompson, were looking to dominate in their home opener. Missing from the action was Lyle's brother, Miles. All three have been named to the 2013 Tewaarton Watch List, along with Yale seniors McCormack, Peter Johnson, and junior Brandon Mangan.
McCormack, Johnson, juniors Jimmy Craft and John Ambrose, and freshman Michael Quinn all worked together to shut down the Great Dane offense. (Lyle) Thompson beat senior defender Johnson for the first goal of the game, so Johnson adapted and held him to two goals and four assists on the day.
"He's probably the best attackman I've ever covered, so I was going to try to follow his hips and play him straight up, man-to-man. In the game, I realized I really wanted to shadow his right hand and make him go to his left, and that kind of worked out. But he still had a bunch of points. He's an unbelievable player," said Johnson, who had three caused turnovers.
While the defense was strong, so was the goaltending. Sophomore Eric Natale had 12 saves on the day. "It's a very difficult team to play against. They got in a lot of tight shots and finish the ball really well, so to have 12 saves, we're excited for him," said Andy Shay, the Ryan & Forst Family Head Coach.
Natale himself thanks the defense: "The defense played really well today. They [the Thompson cousins] shoot all sorts of underhand and behind-the-back, shovel pass shots, so you just have to be ready to play at all times against them." The defense did play really well - only letting the Great Danes capitalize on one of four man-up opportunities."
The team atmosphere also applied on attack - there were six different goal scorers, including two goals from two different long stick defensemen, freshman Michael Quinn and junior Jack Ambrose. Mangan scored four goals and had two assists, with senior Michael Lipin, Colin Flaherty, and Kirby Zdrill also finding the net. Sophomore Conrad Oberbeck scored six goals on the day, along with having one assist, but is sure to point to his teammate's efforts in his success: "I can't even explain my feeling to have this experience in a college game. I definitely got some help from my teammates - that was not individual effort."
Heading into the game, the Elis knew selfish play would not get them the win they wanted. "They were going to be a big, physical defense, so we knew moving the ball was key because they were going to come hard with the first line. One of the key components of the day was moving the ball after the first dodge and playing unselfish lacrosse, and it really paid off," Oberbeck said.
Shay was also pleased with how the attack played. "I think we finished our shots for one. We were smart with the ball - if the possessions had to be long, they made them long; if they had to be short, they made them short. We played within ourselves the whole day," Shay said.
Senior captain Michael McCormack gives the win to the whole team. "We really improved from last week against St. John's. We had a great week of practice. I think all 40 guys, even those on the sideline, came with energy today, and it really helped us. It was a team effort," he said.
Overall, the Bulldogs won every quarter. "They played hard from start to finish and capitalized when they needed to, but the goal is always to get better," Shay says. "We had a really good week of practice, and guys just tried to get better. They focused on that. Today, we were able to pull out a win. We're just trying to get better, that's all we're doing."
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