The offense was there. The result was not.
The Massachusetts men’s lacrosse team fell to Yale Friday night, 13-12, in a game characterized by back-and-forth scoring from both teams.
Matt Gibson, who scored five goals and added two assists for the Bulldogs (2-0) for a career-best seven points, netted his most important one with 34 seconds left to hand the Minutemen (2-1) their first loss of the 2010 season.
“It’s disappointing, but our guys came back, showed a lot of perseverance, facing the adversity that we had, to tie the game up and we actually had the ball at the end of the game,” UMass coach Greg Cannella said.
UMass was down 12-9 with five minutes to go in the fourth quarter, but came from behind with back-to-back goals from freshman midfielder Will Manny. After the pair of goals, sophomore attackman Steve D’Amario tied the game with his first career goal off of a pass from Bobby Hayes on a man-up possession, with less than a minute and a half to go in regulation.
Gibson, however, capitalized off of a Minutemen turnover and scored on a fast break to lead the Bulldogs to their second win of the season.
“In those situations, you would hope to be a little bit better, we weren’t great there, they got the ball down, there was a scramble for it and they scored, so that’s how this game goes,” Cannella said.
Along with Manny, UMass was led by senior midfielder Bobby Hayes (two goals), as the Minutemen had seven different players score, including the first eight coming from eight different players.
Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Tim McCormack made 12 saves in the loss, while Jonathan Falcone stopped seven, including five in the first half.
“If you score 12 goals, you hope you are going to win the game, that’s what’s disappointing,” Cannella said.
With the defeat, UMass’ 45-game streak of scoring 11 or more goals and winning came to an end, a stretch that went back to a 13-12 loss to Johns Hopkins in 2002.
The Minutemen scored 15 and 20 goals respectively in their first two games, both victories over Sacred Heart and Hartford.
The Bulldogs were led by Gibson, Brian Douglass (two goals) and Gregory Mahony (two goals), as the team outshot the Minutemen 44-30 in the game, including 23-13 in the second half.
UMass generated its scoring opportunities from tough defensive play from sophomore defenseman Tom Celentani. With a big hit, he made it unable for the Bulldogs to clear, and then saved a possession on the 11th goal on a loose ball at the midfield line. Celentani had two ground balls and caused three turnovers in the loss.
“Tommy’s made plays all year, he’s been solid, we’re very happy with his progress and where he’s at,” Cannella said.
“He has a good sense of the game, he’s very composed out there on the field, and in the clearing game as well. We played good defense at times today, not great overall, and that’s something we’re going to need to improve on.”
The Minutemen led 7-4 early on in the second quarter, but a tight Bulldog defense surrendered just one goal over a 32-minute span after an Art Kell goal five and half minutes into the second frame.
In that time period, the Bulldogs scored seven goals, including two from Gibson. Hayes finally broke through after 22 minutes, cutting the deficit to two. The Minutemen were held scoreless in the third quarter, the first time UMass was shutout in a quarter so far this season.
UMass looks to rebound when it returns to Garber Field to take on Albany on Tuesday.
David Brinch can be reached at email@example.com.