By Joel Alderman
Yale’s student-athletes pulled off signature wins in three different sports last year, and they didn’t wait long to get one in 2015.
Add today’s to the baseball victory over LSU almost a year ago, the surprise overtime football win over Army in September, and, most recently, the basketball shocker on the home court of the University of Connecticut in December. Those all took place in 2014.
90-years between wins over Maryland
Today (Feb. 21st), the lacrosse team gave the year 2015 a big boost. It shocked a national power, Maryland, 10-6, for the Bulldogs’ first victory over the Terrapins in eleven games, since winning the inaugural a mere 90 years ago in 1925.
Going into this game, the Terps were ranked No. 7 in the last Cascade/Maverik Media Poll, while Yale was 14th. As a result of the game, Yale moved up six spots to No. 8 in this week’s poll, and is also now #7 in the USILA Coaches’ Poll.
Conrad Oberbeck, of Greenwich, led the Bulldogs with three goals and two assists. He later received this praise from the Terrapins’ coach, John Tillman, as quoted in their student newspaper, The Diamonback. “Conrad Oberback is one of the best attackmen in the country. I think people will realize that as the season goes on.”
Ben Reeves, a freshman, and Jeff Cimbalista were also big for Yale, each with two goals.
The team of Coach Andy Shay, which made the NCAA tournament in 2013, is now off to a spectacular start in 2015.
Maryland, playing in the Big Ten for just the second year, has the second-most NCAA tournament appearances with 37, including 11 national titles. Its teams have made the final four three times in the last five years.
A winter scene
With snow banks lining the sidelines at Reese Stadium, a stone’s throw from the Yale Bowl, an hearty bundled crowd of 1,322 braved the winter weather conditions. And the home fans were justly rewarded for any discomfort.
Maryland looked like it would live up to its role as favorite, scoring on its initial shot of the game and adding another for a 2-0 lead in the first four minutes of play. It appeared that the below freezing temperature would feel even more frigid for Yale, which was facing a team from the hotbed of collegiate lacrosse.
But in the end, it was Maryland that probably felt the cold more than Yale. Oberbeck, an attackman, made it 2-2 with a pair of goals. Yale then went in front 4-2 before the red shirted visitors created a 4-4 halftime tie.
Yale’s Oberbeck a future pro
Oberbeck, incidentally, was drafted by the New York Lizards in the sixth round of the 2015 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft.
The Bulldogs began the third quarter with five consecutive shots, connecting on the last to give them a 5-4 lead.
The Terps, who had easily defeated Navy, 8-1, in their opener, came back one more time to tie 6-6, just before the third quarter ended. In the last period, Colin Flaherty registered his second goal with 12:14 left, and the No. 14 Bulldogs pulled away with three more scores in the final six minutes.
Eric Natale appears set for another good season in Yale’s goal
Maryland was unable to put anything past Yale goalkeeper Eric Natale in the last fifteen minutes.
Natale is back for his third season, and carried a 22-10 record into the game. In 2013, when he was All-Ivy, his 7.88 goals against-average was seventh best in the nation. Last year, he was an Ivy League honorable mention.
Natale derived some special satisfaction from the win and his performance, since his home is in Westminster, Maryland. “Being from Maryland definitely added a little extra meaning to the game,” he admitted, “but our primary excitement about the win comes from the attention to detail and great execution.”
Yale is now 2-0, having defeated UMass-Lowell, 19-4, in the opener last week.
The win over Maryland bodes well for the current season.