YALE HOSTS No. 5 TIGERS
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The 19th ranked Yale men’s lacrosse team, 4-1 overall (0-1 Ivy) opens home Ivy League play with No. 5 Princeton (5-1, 1-0) coming to Reese Stadium for a 1 p.m. face-off this Saturday. The Bulldogs are coming off a loss at Cornell in the league opener last weekend, while the Tigers trot into town after an amazing comeback at Franklin Field.
Princeton, winners of the last three, owns a 67-20-2 record against Yale. The last Bulldogs’ win was 9-8 in 2005 at New Haven. Yale’s longest recent win streak was five between 1987 and 1990.
Rich Sgalardi had five points to lead No. 5 Princeton to an 11-7 win over Yale in front of 1,116 fans at Reese Stadium a year ago. Princeton freshman Tyler Fiorito made 10 saves compared to 14 by Yale’s Johnathan Falcone. The Tigers outshot Yale 42-29. The Bulldogs had seven different players score one goal.
First-half face-offs and turnovers were the difference in Yale’s loss at Cornell to open the Ivy campaign last Saturday at Ithaca. Cornell won five of the first six face-offs on the way to a 5-1 lead at the first intermission and never looked back. Yale ended up having fewer turnovers (22-13) and winning 12 of the 27 face-offs, but the damage had been done in the first 15 minutes. The Bulldogs finished with more shots (39-35) but lost the battle of ground balls, 36-31. Senior captain Brendan Gibson and his sophomore brother, Matt, led Yale with two goals apiece. Gregory Mahony, Matt Fuchs and Michael Pratt were the other Bulldogs to hit the net, while junior goalie Johnathan Falcone recorded five saves.
Sophomore A Matt Gibson, who ranks 19th in Division I with four points per game, has a team-high 11 goals, nine assists and 20 points. His .556 shot percentage is eighth. Junior A Brian Douglass is second on the team with 10 goals and is 23rd in the country with a .455 shot percentage.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Junior goalie Johnathan Falcone, who has faced 130 shots this season, has a 9.58 goals against average (23rd in Division I) with a .444 save percentage. He has every decision but Andrew Brown and Peter Spaulding have also seen time in net. Tigers’ sophomore Tyler Fiorito is 21st with a 9.36 GAA.
Senior M Max Rodman has won 68 of 111 (61%) of his face-offs this season and ranks fifth in the country. Princeton’s Jeff Froccaro is 29th at .529.
Junior LSM Patrick Coleman and Max Rodman lead the Blue with 16 pick-ups. Brendan Gibson and Michael Pratt are on ground ball behind.
Yale ranks 22nd in Division I offense with just over 11 goals per outing, while the boys from Old Nassau are tied for 10th with 12.17. The Elis are No. 21 in defense (9.60) compared to Princeton at 24 (9.83).
Yale sophomore Matt Gibson was named March 8 co-Ivy League Player of the Week after an 11-point weekend in a pair of victories. Gibson led the Elis to a 13-12 win over No. 12 UMass on March 5 with a career-high 5-3-8.
TIGERS COME BACK
Jeff Froccaro notched the game-winner with 52.3 seconds to go in the first OT to give No. 4/5 Princeton an 11-10 win over Penn in front of 2,131 at the Class of 1952 Stadium last Saturday. The Quakers had a 7-1 lead early in the third quarter when Princeton made its big comeback. Jack McBride (13-4-17) and Mike Chanenchuk (14-5-19) each had three goals while Tyler Fiorito (9.35, .455) had four saves. Bobby Lucas (.548) and Froccaro (.529) shared the face-off duties in the Tigers’ 21st straight win over Penn.
Five of the seven Ivy League teams are currently nationally ranked, while Penn has received votes from all the major polls. The league of ancient schools has won 25 of 33 non-league games this season.
ON THE BENCH
Yale head coach Andy Shay is in his seventh season and brings a 39-46 overall record into Saturday’s contest. Shay, a two-time captain at LeMoyne College, was part of two UMass NCAA Quarterfinals teams as an assistant coach before coming to Yale. First-year Princeton head coach Chris Bates (69-54 overall), the former Drexel mentor and Dartmouth player, comes to Reese Stadium for the first time.
Yale assistant Graham Niemi, a former Maryland standout, served as head coach of Team Finland at the 2009 World Championships… Andy Shay has coached the Irish National team… Eli assistant Ryan Polley played basketball and lacrosse (2nd team All-America) at Merrimack.
The renovation of Reese Stadium, scheduled for completion this summer, will provide a state-of –the-art facility for both Yale lacrosse and soccer teams. The renovations include increased stadium seating, an entry plaza, team rooms and a press box. Recent improvements included a FieldTurf surface and improved lighting. Reese Stadium, formerly known as the Yale Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium, is named after former lacrosse players Jason Reese '87 and Jon Reese '90.
The Blue has outscored opponents 14-5 in third periods… Four Yale players have game-winning goals this year… Matt Gibson’s eight points against UMass are the third most by a Division I player this spring… Yale is second among Ivy teams in ground balls and shots… Fifteen Bulldogs have points this year, 11 have hit the net.
The first two Bulldogs recruited from Canada exclusively for lacrosse are newcomers Kirby Zdrill and Deron Dempster.
The Yale roster includes players from 17 states and two provinces. The most are from New York (9), New Jersey (5) and Pennsylvania (4). None of the 11 members of the class of 2013 hail from the same state or province.
The Elis, who were ranked first in the NEILA poll for two weeks, fell to No. 3 behind Brown and Harvard.
AROUND THE IVY
Last Saturday, Brown won at Harvard, 13-11, while Princeton stung Penn with a late run and OT, 11-10. Dartmouth fell at North Carolina and Harvard beat Colgate earlier in the week.
Preview filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director
Brian Douglass image by Rich Barnes