NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Eric Scott (Basking Ridge, N.J.) scored 2:59 into the extra period as the No. 6 Yale University men’s lacrosse team defeated Fairfield 9-8. The second consecutive overtime victory moved the Bulldogs to 5-0 for the first time since 1990.
Michael Bonacci (Crofton, Md.), who assisted on the game-winner, was one of three Elis to score twice in the win. Scott and Ben Reeves (Macedon, N.Y.) also scored twice while Michael Keasey (Newport Beach, Calif.) had two assists.
Yale and Fairfield went to overtime for the second consecutive season. Last year, the Stags won 12-11 at Fairfield.
Scott opened the scoring 6:27 into the non-conference game. Keasey assisted on the tally.
A great individual effort by Reeves gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 lead with 3.6 seconds left in the first quarter. The rookie spun to beat his Fairfield defender and got in alone on Stags’ goalie Brad Nordstrom (Phoenix, Ariz.). A converging Stag hit Reeves, who while falling, got his shot off for his ninth goal of the season.
Yale played a physical tight defense on the quick-dodging Stags, holding them scoreless through the opening period. The visitors did not register their first shot on goal for almost nine minutes in. After the opening quarter, Yale led in shots on goal by a 7-2 margin.
In the second quarter, Fairfield reeled off four unanswered goals to take a 5-4 lead.
Bonacci scored his first goal of the season 45 seconds into the second quarter. The goal was unassisted.
T.J. Neubauer (Glen Arm, Md.) got Fairfield on the scoreboard with 13:10 left in the first half.
Twenty three seconds later Yale goalie Eric Natale (Westminster, Md.) took advantage of a sleeping Stags’ defense and scored from downtown to give Yale a 4-1 lead. The senior (5-0) made seven saves in the game to pass Chris Swanenburg, ’90 for 11th all-time on the career saves chart. Next on the list is Bing Gordon, ’72 with 326.
Midway through the second quarter, the visitors scored two goals in less than a minute to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to one. First, Jake Knostman (Bainbridge Island, Wash.) ripped a man-up strike with 7:09 left until intermission. Fifty-eight seconds later, Neubauer scored his second of the afternoon. Tristan Sperry (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) assisted on both goals.
Joe Rodrigues (Saratoga, Calif.) tied the contest with 4:14 left in the first half. The freshman took advantage of a slow Eli rotation to beat Natale. Sperry again had the helper.
The visitors completed the comeback with 34.6 seconds left in the first half. Drew Federico (West Islip, N.Y.) bounced a Sperry pass by Natale to give Fairfield a 5-4 lead.
Another laser by a falling Reeves with time running down in the quarter allowed the Bulldogs to enter the locker room tied at 5.
The visitors opened the second-half scoring 1:55 in. Charlie Schnider (Bethesda, Md.) got space on his white and blue clad defender to bounce one through the legs of Natale.
Bonacci scored his second of the game at the 5:08 mark of the third. The senior took an Conrad Oberbeck (Greenwich, Conn.) pass and fired a heater past Nordstrom to knot the score at six. The helper tied Oberbeck with Tyler Casertano, ’08 for 10th on the career scoring chart with 138 points.
After having three assists in the first half, Sperry got into the goal column with 7:38 left in the third quarter to give the Stags a 7-6 advantage.
Keasey elevated to send one past Nordstrom at the 8:57 mark to tie the game at seven.
The visitors’ quick passing got the Yale defense out of the position allowing Knostman to send home a Colin McLinden (Madison, N.J.) pass to give Fairfield an 8-7 lead with 3:15 left in the third.
Following the trader’s market of a third quarter, the two Connecticut schools entered the fourth quarter with the Bulldogs down a goal.
Jeff Cimbalista (New Hope, Pa.) retied the game man-up 52 seconds into the final quarter. Keasey assisted on the lone goal of the final quarter.
The Bulldogs defense bore down in the fourth, holding Fairfield scoreless on three shots on goal.
Yale also recorded “clean sheets” in the first quarter and overtime.
The Stags defense also was up to the task on the day. Fairfield held Oberbeck out of the goal column for the first time since April 2, 2013. The 28-straight games with a goal was the second active longest streak in the NCAA.
Sperry paced the visitors with a goal and three assists, while Nordstrom stopped 12 Bulldog shots.
The back and forth contest featured five ties and two lead changes.
The Bulldogs (5-0, 0-0 Ivy) host No. 7/8 Cornell in their first Ivy League contest of the season on March 14. The game, which will be televised on Fox College Sports, is set for a 12:30p.m. face-off.