No. 14 Yale’s simplistic but effective formula nearly all season involves coupling a star faceoff specialist and a strong goalie.
Both assets helped send Georgetown to a 13-8 loss Saturday at the Hoyas’ Multi-Sport Field.
Cole Yeager won 16 of 24 faceoffs —- including 11 of 14 in the first half —- and Johnathan Falcone stopped 13 shots as the Bulldogs (10-2) created further misery for the Hoyas (5-7).
It was the third straight loss for Georgetown, its longest skid since 1997. If the Hoyas lose to either Rutgers or Villanova in the season’s final two weeks, they will be stuck with their first sub-.500 season since 1989.
“Hopefully these seniors go out with wins in our last two games,” coach Dave Urick said. “It’s certainly within our reach but not within our grasp. That’s pretty much the way coaches need to approach it, and I think our players did today. Certainly in that first half, it wasn’t anything to write home about. The game got away from us in that first half.”
It began with an inability to secure or sustain possession.
Urick hoped to establish a quick tempo against Yale, which doesn’t own the deepest of rosters. But it did manage to play keep-away in the first half —- not through patience but rather because of slick shooting and consistent faceoff wins.
The Bulldogs opened a 4-1 lead by the end of the first quarter and steadily responded to ever hint of a Georgetown rally with a goal of their own. The Hoyas didn’t cobble together consecutive goals until defensive midfielder Ryan Shuler scored twice in the fourth quarter.
“We were missing groundball opportunities and failing to clear it,” senior long pole Barney Ehrmann said. “It just gave them so many more opportunities to score.”
Whenever Georgetown did set up its offense, Falcone stuffed the Hoyas. He had six saves in the first quarter, and made a stop on the doorstep on attackman Davey Emala late in the third quarter when Georgetown had closed within 10-5.
Urick said he didn’t see evidence the Hoyas, whose NCAA tournament hopes were essentially dashed a week earlier with a loss to Loyola, show a hint of disinterest. Indeed, attackman Rickey Mirabito and midfielder Zack Angel both played with illness a day after Urick was uncertain if they could take the field.
Instead, it was Yale’s pinpoint shooting (9-for-21 in the first half) and its usual strengths of faceoffs and play in the cage that helped it maintain its own at-large hopes.
As for Georgetown, it doesn’t plan to permit a fourth straight postseason miss to prevent it from trying to shake off one of the most trying stretches in the program’s recent history.
“It makes it a little tougher, but it’s still lacrosse,” Ehrmann said. “It’s still the game we love to play. It’s not that tough to keep coming out and fighting hard.”
—- Patrick Stevens