March 10, 2011

Yale Hopes to Add to Ivy League Intrigue; Gibson Expected to Return

by Chris R. Vaccaro | LaxMagazine.com


Attackman Matt Gibson, sidelined with a back injury since preseason, should give Yale's offense a boost with his expcted return Saturday against Lehigh.

© Greg Wall

Yale has scored an astounding 54 goals in three men's lacrosse games. When you look at the schedule and see St. John's, Presbyterian and Mercer, you can understand why, but 22 against each of the latter two, respectively, is a plethora of offensive production regardless of the opponent.

Which leads to the major question at-hand: can this fierce goal scoring and domination continue through what Yale head coach Andy Shay calls "the meat of the schedule?"

Challenges will arise immediately with Lehigh on tap for Saturday, then Cornell, Princeton, Penn and Providence in order, not to mention Bryant, Georgetown and Harvard on the backend of the schedule, all on the road.

The Ivy League is intriguing already this year with Harvard beating Georgetown and Penn upsetting Duke early on. Shay wouldn't mind adding the Bulldogs to the list of competitors.

"There really haven't been any surprises," he said. "We're going to try and stay healthy and as focused as we can on the next opponent. The meat of our schedule is coming up and we know our challenge is there."

Remarkably, the 54 goals and balanced approach have come without junior attackman Matt Gibson, arguably the team's best player. He injured his back in a scrimmage against Stony Brook. Last season he led Yale with 44 points and was named New England Player of the Year and second team All-Ivy.

Gibson played briefly against St. John's, but it was merely for window dressing, Shay said.

"Right now he's scheduled to play against Lehigh," he added.

Shay also doesn't know if his team can count on feeding off this early rhythm.

"We juggled the lineup in the last couple games," he said. "We're trying to move the ball, and get as many good looks as possible. We have a veteran group of guys."

So far the production has come from senior middie Brian Douglass, who leads the team with 16 points (8a, 8a), followed by sophomore middie Deron Dempster with 11 points (8g, 3a). Sixteen other players have scored goals, 13 of which have scored two or more.

Last year's 10-4 run was promising if not for a 7-6 loss to Princeton in the Ivy League semifinals.

"We play hard," Shay said. "We've always tried to play harder than our opponent, and we've been able to do that. It'll get tougher to do that. We know that's been our challenge every game."


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