Box Score (PDF)
ITHACA, N.Y. - As “the fastest sport on two feet,” lacrosse is a game that can turn on a dime. The University of Pennsylvania men found that out the hard way on Friday night, falling to Yale 9-6 in an Ivy League Tournament semifinal at Cornell’s Schoellkopf Field.
One second, Penn (8-5) is up by a goal, and Tim Schwalje is rocketing a shot past Eric Natale. That shot is hitting the post, but the long rebound goes out where two Quaker midfielders are waiting to easily pick up the ground ball.
Next thing you know, Yale (10-4) is swarming those two middies; getting the ball; and taking off in transition. Just like that, the Bulldogs’ Kirby Zdrill is scoring to tie the game.
It set Yale off on a 4-0 run that covered just over six minutes and proved to be enough for the Bulldogs to defeat the Quakers.
Penn got off to a quick start, scoring twice in the game’s first 1:39. Ryan Parietti got the Quakers on the board first, off a feed from Isaac Bock, and then Zack Losco beat his man and scored left-handed to double the lead.
Just as Penn owned the first quarter, Yale owned the second. The Bulldogs outshot the Quakers, 11-4, and got back all three goals to tie things up by halftime.
Conrad Oberbeck got the Bulldogs on the board just 1:09 into the period, beating his man and then putting a shot past Brian Feeney (who had a solid first quarter). With just over two minutes left before the break, Yale cut the deficit to one on a long-pole connection, Peter Johnson feeding Michael Quinn for the goal on the fast break. Just 57 seconds after that, the Bulldogs tied the game as Michael Lipin scored from up top off a Brandon Mangan feed.
Belinsky was called for a one-minute, non-releasable penalty late in the first half, and 33 seconds into the second half Yale was able to take advantage just as he was being released. Shane Thorton scored off an Oberbeck feed, and the Bulldogs had their first lead at 4-3.
Yale was called for a penalty shortly after that, however, and Penn took advantage to tie the game as Bock finished a throw-and-catch with Parietti. It ended a scoring drought of more than 21 minutes by the Quakers. Penn then took the lead midway through the period when Doktor found Parietti in front, and he pushed a quick-stick past Natale.
Yale tied it up with 3:25 left in the third when Oberbeck beat his defender from behind the goal, slipping between him and the goal and firing a left-handed shot past a defenseless Feeney.
Penn again took the lead early in the fourth quarter. Out of a scramble behind the Yale goal, Doktor came up with the ground ball, beat his defender around the circle and slid a low shot between Natale’s legs.
The critical turnaround that led to Zdrill’s tying goal came with just over 10 minutes to play. Less than a minute after that tying goal, Oberbeck scored in front, and suddenly the Bulldogs were back in front, 7-6.
Mangan gave Yale its largest lead of the day, scoring when he rocketed a bounce shot from about 15 yards out that Feeney struggled to contain. Out of a timeout, the Bulldogs then broke a pressure Penn defense and made it 9-6 as Harry Kucharczyk scored from range against a scrambling John Lopes (in the game briefly for Feeney).
Feeney ended the game with 11 saves, while Natale had 12 in the Yale cage.
Penn has to hope for an at-large bid into the 16-team NCAA field; that will be set Sunday night at 9 p.m.