Yale vs. Umass
March 2, 2008
The Game Story:
Playing a perennial national power the week after a bad opening-day loss can be very healing for a team. Beating the favored team the next week could erase the memories of that outing, which is exactly what happened to the Yale men's lacrosse team.

Jonathan Koenig had two goals and Brendan Gibson added a goal and two assists as the Bulldogs knocked off No. 14 UMass 7-4 before 1,025 at Reese Stadium and picked up their first win of 2008.

Unranked Yale (1-1) outshot the Minutemen 25-22 and had more ground balls (32-21), but faceoff specialist Gregory DuBoff may have been the key to victory over a squad that has gone to six NCAA tournaments under 14th year head coach Greg Cannella and was coming off an 8-4 win over a ranked Hofstra team. DuBoff won 11 of 14 faceoffs and had seven ground balls.

Yale senior goalie George Carafides, who finished with nine saves, had four stops in the second to secure the lead.

The Elis, who never trailed in their second straight win over UMass, got on the board first when Gibson's pass from behind the net bounced to Koenig, who quickly fired past Doc Schneider (13 saves), the goalie who led the 2006 Minutemen to the national championship game.

UMass (1-1) tied it at 1-1 with 3:18 left in the first after a Yale turnover. Zach Rodgers sent a pretty lead pass to Tim Balise, who had two goals, and the attacker easily flipped a shot from the edge of the crease past Carafides.

Goals from Tyler Casertano, on a beautiful spin move outside the circle, Brian Douglass, one of Yale's two EMO tallies, and Jerome Arnold led the Blue to a 4-2 halftime edge.

Colin Ford, with the extra man, converted a long feed from Casertano at 7:57 of the third to put the home team up 5-2, and it looked as if it would be the only tally of the frame.

However, with time running out, Koenig got a step on his defender, dove from the edge of the circle and flipped a shot over Schneider. That came with 10 seconds left to give the Blue a four-goal lead heading to the fourth.

"I knew we were near the end of the quarter. I just wanted to make something happen," said Koenig. "I was hoping to find someone open in front but my man slipped. I thought I had a shot so I sacrificed my body. The goalie went low and I went over his shoulder with the shot."

UMass took one of its three faceoff wins to start the fourth and scored at 12:34 to cut the lead to 6-3 and provide some hope for a comeback.

The Minutemen probably didn't know that Bulldog attackman Michael Karwoski, who missed the first half because of practice with the Yale hockey team, had arrived at Reese Stadium and was ready to play.

Karwoski, an Eli offensive sparkplug who was on the field for Koenig's goal, took advantage of his second chance to see the field with his first goal of the year. The Yale junior took a pass from behind the net, moved out to shooting position and then jumped before flicking a shot into the net at 10:44. Karwoski, whose hockey team hosts an ECAC playoff series this weekend, has worked out with the team a total of three times this semester.

Balise tallied his second goal with 5:21 left but the visitors turned the ball over too much down the stretch to make a run at the Blue.

"We played whistle to whistle today," said Yale head coach Andy Shay, who served as Cannella's assistant at UMass before coming to New Haven. "We were facing one of the best goalies in the nation. We had to get good shots on the cage and hope they would fall. UMass is under a lot of scrutiny and pressure [from an off-the-field incident that caused the suspension of eight players]. We tried to wear them down. It is amazing they are as good as they are with what's going on."