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Bulldogs Knock Off No. 13 Princeton

Reeves had 4 goals, 8 points (George Duran image)
Reeves had 4 goals, 8 points (George Duran image)

Reeves Has 8 Points in 16-13 Win

PRINCETON, NJ – The Bulldogs have found the bark that was missing early this season, and it's the right time of year to get hot. The Yale men's lacrosse team dominated face-offs, ground balls and shots on the way to a 16-13 win over No. 13 Princeton.

It was a total team effort that got the Elis to 4-3 overall and 2-0 in Ivy League play. Conor Mackie won 26 of 33 battles on the X, Ben Reeves scored four goals and had eight points and the Blue defense held freshman sensation Michael Sowers, who is fourth nationally in points per game, to just a pair of assists.

Mackie, the junior from Glen Rock, N.J., enjoyed one of the most prolific face-off performances in school history. He won all eight battles during the second frame and finished the game with an astonishing 18 ground balls. Mackie's monster day enabled the Yale offense to click, keeping the visitors ahead for almost the entire day and helping them take a third straight game from Princeton.

"We knew Princeton would come out here and do a couple of things, mix it up with different guys. We practiced a lot for it and knew it would be a three-man effort," said Mackie.

Reeves, the junior All-American, took full advantage of the possessions. He was masterful coming out from behind the net to find open teammates cutting toward the crease or keep the ball and fire rockets at the Tigers' goalie. Reeves, who has 11 goals and 18 points against Princeton in four career games, now has a team-high 15 goals and 29 points this year.

"We know he is going to be a great player," said Andy Shay, the Yale head coach. "We know he's going to be a great leader. He was very composed today in some tense moments."

However, he wasn't the only dangerous Bulldog with the ball. Freshman Matt Gaudet found the net three times and senior Eric Scott had a pair of goals and four points, while the visitors got a pair of goals each from Joseph Sessa, Jackson Morrill and Lucas Cotler. This group has led a Yale offense that netted 32 goals in two Ivy games, the other a 17-8 win at home over Cornell last week.

At the other end, Yale rookie defenseman Aidan Hynes had the primary task of marking Princeton's top scorer, Sowers, who was limited to three shots and held pointless for a half the first time this year. Led by captain Brian Pratt, the defense came up with big plays when needed and showed its grit when it was time for a physical statement.

The Tigers found the net first, but the Bulldogs responded with three in 1:49 to take a two-goal lead that would balloon to four before settling back at a pair heading into halftime. Scott, Cotler and Reeves, who had three in the first half, got the Blue going with goals as the visitors dominated in shots, 11-4 at that point.

Reeves' first tally of the day came off a lightning-fast, low release that sent a shot through Tyler Blaisdell's legs at 11:27 of the first quarter.

The Tigers, who bashed the Quakers 17-8 at Penn last week, came out hungry in the third, finishing off a string of four straight scores with a pair that drew them even at 8-8. That could have been the momentum that carried the favored home team to victory.

"I wish we played a little better defense," said Shay. "But we weathered the storm. We are just trying to get better."

 

The Elis, who entered the game with an average of 35 shots, unloaded 47 on the Tigers, including 16 in the first quarter. Mackie and an aggressive bunch of blue jerseys made sure they could take that many shots. Bulldogs aren't supposed to pick up after themselves, but today they did all the scooping. Yale had 54 ground balls, grabbing 20 alone in the third quarter.

That third frame momentum swung in favor of Princeton early, until the Bulldogs notched five straight goals. Morrill, who converted a Will Weitzel pass to start the run, got two, Jason Alessi got on the scoresheet and Sessa finished by getting lost in traffic and fighting his way through to find the cage. The Tigers could not claw their way back after that.

 

BULLDOG BITES

Ben Reeves has 28 points in his last five outings. This was the third time this year he hit the net four times, while his eight points were a season-high… Freshman Brody Wilson made his third straight start in the Eli goal and have six saves… The Bulldogs have won three of the past four regular season games against the Tigers, including an 11-10 decision last year at Reese Stadium. The Elis have also won the past three playoff meetings. Eight of the last 11 games against Princeton have been decided by a goal… Walter, Yale's Handsome Dan XVIII, was on the sideline for today's game.

 
 

Filed by Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director – steven.conn@yale.edu