The first round of the 2016 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament came to a close Sunday, and every game provided some exciting action. One of the most anticipated games of the first round was the matchup of the Yale Bulldogs and the Navy Midshipmen. Both teams played hard and put on a great show, but the Midshipmen edged the Bulldogs by a score of 13-10.
If one just watched the first quarter of the Yale/Navy game, they would never believe the game resulted in the way that it did. That’s because Yale dominated the opening portion of the game with the help of Jack Tigh, who scored the first goals of the game. DJ Plumer got Navy on the scoreboard with his third goal of the season, but it only delayed the Yale offense from scoring two more goals, credited to Jason Alessi and Ben Reeves, who assisted on Tigh’s two goals. A late goal for the Midshipmen by Casey Rees trimmed the deficit to two goals, and the first quarter ended with Yale in front 4-2.
The late goal by Rees gave the spark the Navy offense was looking for in the first quarter. Rees picked up where he left off in the first quarter, scoring his second goal of the game and cutting the lead to one goal. Patrick Keena scored the goal that tied the game up at four and one by Jack Ray gave the Midshipmen their first lead of the game, 5-4. Both teams exchanged the lead for the rest of the second quarter, with the Bulldogs taking the lead back with a goal by Jeff Cimbalista and Will Robison and then Navy going out front again with a goal from Ray and Rees, making it 7-6. Reeves scored the last goal of the first half with 12 seconds to go, knotting the game up at seven going into halftime.
The third quarter was dominated by the defenses, only allowing three goals in total. Navy got the scoring started four minutes in with T.J. Hanzsche and Colin Flounlacker extended the Midshipmen’s lead to two goals. With just over a minute to go in the third quarter, Tigh tallied his third goal of the game, giving him a hat-trick, and kept the Bulldogs within striking distance at 9-8 heading into the final quarter.
It didn’t take long for Navy to get their lead back to two goals as Keena opened the fourth quarter with his second goal of the game. Yale responded to that goal with a man-up goal by Eric Scott. Kevin Wendel tried to put his team back out front by two with his first goal of the game, but Reeves’ hat-trick goal neutralized any momentum Navy had from Wendel’s goal. At this point, the Navy defense, though tired, pulled out whatever energy they had left in themselves and kept Yale from scoring while Ray’s hat-trick goal and Rees’ fourth sealed the victory and allowed the Midshipmen to move on to the quarterfinals. The Midshipmen will face the Bears of Brown University next Saturday.