Men's lacrosse falls to No. 13 Yale despite strong play

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By Chloe Aubuchon, Daily Sports Writer
Published April 20, 2014

With just over two minutes left in the second quarter Saturday, freshman attacker Ian King made history for the young Michigan men’s lacrosse team. He navigated the crowded area around the net and buried a bounce shot for his 27th goal — a new single-season record for the three-year-old program.

Despite King’s individual achievement, the Wolverines (1-3 Eastern College Athletic Conference, 4-10 overall) fell to No. 13 Yale, 13-7, at Michigan Stadium.

The game remained scoreless for most of the first quarter until the Bulldogs opened up scoring with a man-up goal toward the end of the quarter. Fifteen seconds later, another tally put Yale (3-2 Ivy League, 8-3) up by two.

Michigan outshot the Bulldogs, 9-5, in the first period and 40-32 in the game, but it couldn’t execute against Yale’s stellar goaltending.

“I thought we were getting some pretty good shots, but I think their goalie played great,” said Michigan coach John Paul. “We felt like, coming out of the first quarter, we should keep doing what we’re doing because we were getting great shots.”

After another Bulldog goal opened the second quarter, sophomore midfielder David Joseph put the Wolverines on the board. Yale refused to allow a second-quarter comeback, though, and answered Joseph’s goal with three of its own to take a commanding 6-1 lead.

King scored twice — including his record-breaking tally — to end the Bulldog run and close the gap to 6-3 going into halftime.

On such a young and attack-heavy team, King is willing to be flexible as the team progresses. While his current role is primarily to score, the freshman may become a more adaptable player in the future.

“You can see from my statistics that I’m mostly a scorer,” King said. “The coaches have put me in a position to shoot the ball and finish. But maybe, as I gain more weight, I can become more of a dodge or assist type of guy.”

Yale came out strong in the second half to extend the lead to 9-3, until sophomore midfielder Kyle Jackson scored at the 6:26 mark. The Bulldogs scored once more to end the third leading 10-4.

Maintaining possession and feeding the offense was an important part of Michigan’s offensive strategy against the No. 15 faceoff team in the country.

“We feel like our offense can generate good opportunities against almost anyone,” Paul said. “Our game plan was set, knowing we were going to be in a battle for faceoffs, to get the ball to our offense. I thought we did a pretty good job of that, but we need a lot of offensive opportunities against a great defense. We probably just didn’t get enough, and their goalie played great.”

The Wolverines utilized some non-starters in the fourth quarter, playing Yale evenly. After another Bulldog score, redshirt freshman Brendan Gaughan replied with his first career goal with 5:37 left.

Gaughan, a high school Under Armour All-American, went from being one of the team’s highest-rated recruits to a medical redshirt after tearing his meniscus during preseason conditioning last year.

The teams continued to trade goals throughout the fourth quarter. Yale gained a 12-6 lead before Gaughan tallied again with just over two minutes to play. The Bulldogs closed out the game with a final goal to seal the 13-7 victory.

According to Paul, Michigan played a solid game, but simply failed to execute as well as its opponent. The Wolverines’ offense had quality shots, but couldn’t overcome Yale’s strong defensive play and goalkeeping.

“It’s tough because, for where we are right now, we didn’t play a bad game,” Paul said. “We just got beat by a better team.”