ELIS LOOKING FOR THIRD STRAIGHT NCAA BID
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - It took four overtime periods for the Yale men's lacrosse team to punch its ticket to the Ivy League Tournament Final for the third consecutive year. Fresh off a 13-12 win over Penn, the Bulldogs are back in action Sunday at Reese Stadium. The contest against Brown for an automatic bid in the NCAA tournament begins at noon and airs live on the ESPNU, with Chris Cotter and Ryan Boyle providing commentary.
IVY TOURNEY HISTORY
Yale, the winner of the 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016 tournaments, has appeared in every league post-season event since it began in 2010. The Bulldogs are 9-3 overall and have outscored opponents 127-102. All three losses came in semifinals, while two were one-goal decisions. The Elis are 4-0 in championship games, taking titles at Ithaca, Princeton and Providence (twice). In Ivy tourney play, Yale is 3-0 vs. Penn, 1-1 vs. Harvard, 3-1 vs. Princeton, 1-1 vs. Cornell and 1-0 vs. Brown.
Yale seeks a third consecutive tournament title and automatic qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. The 18-team field of the 2017 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship will be revealed Sunday, May 7 (9 p.m. ET, ESPNU), during the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship Selection Special.
Brown leads the all-time series against the Bulldogs, 36-26-1. The Bears came away with a 14-12 win at home last season in a regular-season thriller, but the Bulldogs have won eight of the past nine contests, including an 18-12 victory at Reese Stadium earlier this year.
The Bulldogs played in their longest game since 2012 on Friday, as it took four overtime periods to decide a winner against Penn in the Ivy League Tournament Semifinal. Ben Reeves completed a six-point day (3 G, 3 A) with a feed to Joey Sessa, and the sophomore was able to convert the opportunity and bring the Bulldogs back into the final.
Freshman goalie Phil Goss made a career-high 20 saves to lead the Bears to an 17-15 win over Princeton last Saturday in the first semifinal game. 2016 Tewaaraton Award winner Dylan Molloy had four goals and six points while Stephen Hudak finished with a game-high five goals. The Bears scored seven straight goals in the fourth quarter to overcome a deficit and build a commanding lead that lasted until the final whistle. Brown has now won five consecutive games, with their last loss coming against Yale on April 15.
The Elis fell in the national standings after a loss to Harvard, and the rankings have not changed after the OT victory over Penn. They are ranked No. 16 in the USILA National Poll, the highest of any team in the Ivy League, and No. 17 in the Maverik Media Poll. Yale also ranks first in the most recent NEILA poll, above Providence, Brown, and Harvard.
Yale, which put up 48 shots against Penn, ranks sixth in the nation in points per game. Ben Reeves leads the team in assists, averaging 2.62 per game, good for sixth in the nation. As a team, the Elis are averaging 13.36 goals per game, which ranks seventh in the country.
Ben Reeves has been named the Ivy League Player of the Week twice this season, and last week was named the Ivy League Player of the Year. Coach Andy Shay was a unanimous selection as the Ivy League Coach of the Year. Eric Scott and Conor Mackie join Reeves on the All-Ivy First Team, forming the first Yale trio on the All-Ivy First Team since 2012. Freshman defenseman Aidan Hynes was named to the second team, while Joey Sessa was given an honorable mention.
2017 ELI INDIVIDUAL SEASON-BESTS
Points: 8, Ben Reeves vs. Brown
CTs: 4, Eric Scott vs. Bryant
Face-off Wins: 26, Conor Mackie vs. Princeton
ON THE X
Junior Conor Mackie is a crucial component for the Elis at FOGO. He went 17-for-31 against Penn, increasing his streak of games with better than 50 percent face-off wins to ten. He has taken nearly all the face-offs this season and has won 60.2 percent of his attempts, which ranks 12th in the nation and first in the Ivy League. He is also third in the nation with 9.00 ground balls per game. Mackie tied the school record for wins (26) in a game at Princeton (33 attempts) and recorded an amazing 18 ground balls. He also tied the NCAA record for the fastest goal to start a game when he scored just three seconds into the March 18 contest against Cornell.
SPREADING THE LOVE
Fifteen different Bulldogs have scored goals for a total of 187 on 581 shots.
The nine members of the class of 2017 have helped Yale to an overall record of 42-18 since 2014. That includes two Ivy League Tournament titles, a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances and a regular-season league championship. The most wins by a Yale lacrosse class is 46 by the 1991 and 1992 groups. The seniors include M Eric Scott, A Jeff Cimbalista, captain and D Brian Pratt, D Camyar Matini, D Henry Guild, M John Lazarsfeld, G Jack Berney, D Charlie Better and D Conor Resch.
Newcomers have been key for the Yale offense this spring. The class of 2020 has scored 65 times this season, including 28 goals from Matt Gaudet. The Ontario had a nine-game scoring streak earlier this season, and that run included a career-high four-goal performance against Brown. Gaudet also leads the nation in shot percentage, converting on 56.0 percent. The offense has another 19 goals from Jackson Morrill, who scored eight times in the past five games. The Maryland native also has 17 assists, including a career-high of four helpers against Brown. His six-point performance against Villanova earned him an Ivy League Rookie of the Week award. He has recorded a point in 11 straight games. Lucas Cotler is also a factor for the Yale offense, scoring another goal in the Penn semifinal game. Cotler now has scored in nine straight games. Brian Ward scored twice this season, and Sam Selati has two assists on the year. Will Weitzel has been solid at the LSM position, backing up Brian Pratt, while Brody Wilson has spent time between the pipes this season, earning a 3-0 record. The new Bulldogs come from seven different states and a Canadian province, and Inside Lacrosse ranked this recruiting class as the 11th best in the nation.
Ben Reeves, who was one of five finalists for the 2016 Tewaaraton Award as a sophomore, has been named one of 25 nominees for this year's top honor for a collegiate lacrosse player. Reeves overcame an early-season injury to have another All-American campaign. He missed most of the first two games and then rebounded with a team-high 35 goals and 69 points over the last 12 contests. He established career-highs with five goals and 10 points against Brown in a game that clinched a 2017 Ivy League Championship for the Blue. He followed that with a 3-3-6 game at Harvard, and recorded another 3-3-6 game in the semifinal game against Penn on Friday. Reeves, who has a 32-game point streak, ranks fifth in the nation with 5.31 points per outing. His 2.62 assists average is sixth. The Macedon, N.Y., native is quickly climbing up the ranks in the Yale Lacrosse record book, and currently sits second for career points with 191. His 105 goals are also fourth at Yale, while his 86 assists rank fifth. Reeves made team history last year as the first Yale player named one of the five finalists for the Tewaaraton. He posted the third highest point total ever by a Yale player in a single season. His 79 points and 45 goals were both Yale sophomore records, and he was tied for second in the nation with 4.94 points per game. He was first-team All-America and All-Ivy in 2016 while being named the Ivy Tournament Most Outstanding Player.
Senior midfielder Eric Scott has been a consistent part of the Yale offense with points in every game and goals in all but one, and has now recorded his best statistical season at Yale. He scored three times against Penn on Friday, while adding an assist. He is second on the team with 39 points. His point streak is now up to 17 games dating back to last season. Scott is also one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS award for his notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. He was a summer volunteer with Costa Rica Charity Lacrosse, a foundation that spreads the game of lacrosse while helping the community in Samara, Costa Rica by running lacrosse clinics for local kids, cleaning beaches, and renovating soccer fields. He also volunteers with New Haven Inner-City Lacrosse in weekly lacrosse clinics for at-risk middle school students. Last year, Scott recorded 19 goals and 17 assists, good for third on the team with 36 points. Scott was named to the 2016 All-Ivy League second unit and was named a 2017 preseason third-team All-American by Inside Lacrosse. He is also listed as a pre-season first-team All-New England selection by the NEILA. A Saybrook College resident and economics major, Scott has a job with the Raine Group in New York City.
Sophomore Joseph Sessa has been an essential asset to the Yale offense. He scored the winning goal in the fourth overtime against Penn, dodging around his defender and bouncing a shot past Reed Junkin to secure a trip to the final. His season assist total is up to 21, and he ranks second on the team in that category. He also posted a career-high five assists against Villanova. Sessa, who is 38th in the nation in assists per game, has also added 11 goals, beating his 2016 season total (3 came at Bryant). His 32 points are the fourth-most on the team. Listed at 5-feet, 5-inches on the roster, Sessa uses his speed and athleticism to create opportunities.
Yale athletics teams have just one captain. Senior Brian Pratt, the voted leader of the 2017 Bulldogs, is a versatile asset at the LSM position. He has been key to the face-off unit so far this season, and played a solid defensive role. Despite an injury that took away his 2016 season, he was still visible with the team, during practice and games. Pratt had 26 groundballs during the 2015 season for a defense that ranked among the top 10 in the country. Pratt, a political science major in Davenport, interned at Barclays last summer and will work for them after graduation.
Senior Camyar Matini, named to the 2017 Preseason All-America third unit, is a key ingredient in the Yale defense who has been missing for most of the last five games with an injury, but he did see some playing time on the man-down defensive unit against Penn. He has recorded nine groundballs and five caused turnovers. Last season he recorded 11 ground balls and seven caused turnovers, despite missing five games due to injury. Matini is listed as a 2017 Preseason Second Team All-New England selection. A Davenport College resident and economics major, he will work at Lazard, an investment bank in New York City, after graduation.
Junior Tyler Warner has played a key role as a short-stick defender for the Bulldogs. Often responsible for covering some of the best attackmen, Warner can also find balls on the ground and distribute in the offensive end. He was given an honorable mention for the 2017 Preseason All-American list as a defensive short stick midfielder. He was also named to the 2017 NEILA Preseason All-New England Team. He recorded 16 groundballs and six caused turnovers last year, and scored goals against both Penn and Sacred Heart.
Two-sport Division I athletes are unique, even more so are key players for both teams. Junior midfielder Jason Alessi is the best male example at Yale, starting on defense for the football team, while making plays for the lacrosse team. Alessi set a career-high by scoring three times against Albany on April 22, and scored two points (1 G, 1 A) against Penn on Friday. He has 15 tallies on the year, along with seven assists, 17 groundballs and a caused turnover. Alessi finished the 2016 season with 12 goals and 2 assists, including three multi-goal games. On the gridiron, the defensive back is the only player in Yale history to record a pair of punt returns for TDs over 80 yards. Alessi is listed as a Preseason Second Team All-New England selection by the NEILA.
filed by Andrew Del Vecchio '19, Yale Sports Publicity