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Elis Look To Stay Hot

Ben Reeves (Don Clark photo)
Ben Reeves (Don Clark photo)



NEW HAVEN, Conn. - After four straight home games the Yale men's lacrosse team is back on the road this week for its second league game of the year. Fresh off a convincing win over Cornell, the Bulldogs (3-3, 1-0 Ivy) travel to New Jersey to play No. 15 Princeton (5-2, 1-0) in a 2 p.m. Friday contest that airs live on ESPNU with Chris Cotter and Mark Dixon providing commentary.



In their Ivy League opener against Cornell the Elis put on a solid performance on both sides of the field. The offense had its most productive game of the season, pouring in 17 goals from 10 different players in a statement, 17-8 win. Ben Reeves led all scorers with four goals and two assists, while Joseph Sessa contributed four points (2 G, 2 A). Eric Scott assisted on five goals, e Jackson Morrill earned a spot on the Ivy Honor Roll with a three-point performance and freshman Brody Wilson had eight saves between the pipes for Yale. 



Princeton leads the all-time series against Yale, 74-26-2, but things have been more even in recent years. The Bulldogs have won two of the past three regular season games, including an 11-10 decision last year at Reese Stadium. The Elis have also won the past three playoff meetings.



The Tigers, who have a big win over Johns Hopkins this year, are 5-2 and opened Ivy play with a win last weekend. Michael Sowers, the Ivy League Player of the Week, had five goals and 4 assists and Gavin McBride added five goals and six points as No. 15 Princeton beat Penn 17-8 at Franklin Field last Saturday. Sowers already has 19 goals and 40 points in seven games.



The Bulldogs scored 17 times last Saturday from 10 different players including Conor Mackie and John Daniggelis, who notched their first goals of the season. Ben Reeves led the charge with four goals, including three in the second half. Eric Scott was the moderator for the Yale offense, recording five assists. Yale put up 38 shots against Cornell and scored 10 times in the second half alone. Joseph Sessa leads the team in assists, averaging 2.17 per game, good for 13th in the nation. 



The Bulldogs were given the top spot in the 2017 Ivy League Men's Lacrosse Preseason poll. Yale received 6 of 12 first-place votes. The Elis were followed by Brown, Penn and Harvard to round out the top four. 



Goals: 5, Jackson Morrill vs. Villanova, Eric Scott vs. Maryland

Assists: 5, Joseph Sessa vs. Villanova, Eric Scott vs. Cornell

Points: 6, Jackson Morrill vs. Villanova, Joseph Sessa vs. Villanova, Eric Scott vs. Maryland, Ben Reeves vs. Cornell

Saves: 15, Phil Huffard vs. Villanova

CTs: 4, Eric Scott vs. Bryant

Face-off Wins: 21, Conor Mackie vs. Cornell



Four Bulldogs were named pre-season All-American by Face-Off Yearbook. Junior Ben Reeves was a first-team pick, Eric Scott and Camyar Matini were on the third team, while Tyler Warner earned an honorable mention.



Last week, ten different Bulldogs scored on 38 shots. Ben Reeves led all Yale scorers with four goals and six points, while Jack Tigh, Jason Alessi, Lucas Cotler, and Joseph Sessa each had multi-goal games. Conor Mackie and John Daniggelis each got on the scoresheet for the first time this season. Through six games, 12 different Bulldogs have found the back of the net a total of 70 times on 214 shots.  



The nine members of the class of 2017 have an overall record of 36-16, including two Ivy League Tournament titles and NCAA Tournament appearances. 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



The freshman class has been a key asset to the Yale offense, while adding support in the midfield. The class of 2020 has scored 23 times this season, including 10 goals from Matt Gaudet. The Ontario native has scored seven the past three games, including a season-high four against Fairfield. The offense has another nine goals from Jackson Morrill. The Maryland native also has seven assists, and his six-point performance against Villanova earned him an Ivy League Rookie of the Week award. Lucas Cotler is also a presence for the Yale offense, scoring twice in the win over Cornell, bringing his season total up to four goals and an assist. Will Weitzel has been solid at the LSM position, backing up Brian Pratt, while Brody Wilson is gaining confidence between the pipes after an eight-save performance against the Big Red. The new Bulldogs come from seven different states and a Canadian province. They include six midfielders, three defensemen, two attackmen and a goalie. Inside Lacrosse ranked this recruiting class as the eleventh best in the nation. 



Ben Reeves is in his element right now for the Yale offense. He notched four goals and two assists in the dominating win over Cornell. In the two games the week before, he scored seven goals and added three assists. His season total of 21 (11-10) points rank first on the team. His 4.20 points per game ranks fourth in the Ivy League. He is already climbing up the ranks in the Yale Lacrosse record book, and currently sits 10th for all-time scoring. Reeves made team history last year as the first Yale player named one of the five finalists for the Tewarraton Award, the highest individual honor in college lacrosse. He posted the third highest point total ever by a Yale player in a single season. His 79 points and 45 goals are both Yale sophomore records, and he was tied for second in the nation with 4.94 points per game. The Macedon, N.Y., native was named to the 2016 All-Ivy League First Team and the All-American First Team, and was also named the Ivy Tournament Most Outstanding Player. 



Senior midfielder Eric Scott has been a consistent part of the Yale offense. He continued his hot streak last Saturday by recording a career-high five assists in the win over Cornell. He is also second on the team with 10 goals, and ranks 13th in the Ivy League with 2.83 points per game. Scott is also one of 20 nominees for the Senior CLASS award for his notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. Last year, Scott had the best statistical year of his collegiate career with 19 goals and 17 assists, good for third on the team with 36 points. Scott was named a to the 2016 All-Ivy League Second Team, and was named a 2017 preseason third-team All-American by Inside Lacrosse. He is also listed as a preseason First Team All-New England selection by the NEILA. Scott was named to the first-team All-New England in 2015, and was fourth on the team in scoring with 28 points (22 G, 6 A). 



Sophomore Joseph Sessa has been an essential asset to the Yale offense. He is a team sparkplug who has distributed the ball effectively. Sessa put up a balanced game against Cornell, scoring two goals while adding two assists. He has 13 assists, including a career-high of five against Villanova, and is 13th in the nation in assists per game. He has also added four goals so far, and his 17 points are the second-most on the team. Last year, he recorded six goals, including three against Bryant early in the season. 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 a season-ending injury before the start of the 2016 season, he was still visible on field, leading the players onto the field before pre-game warmups. 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, interned at Barclays last summer. 



Senior Camyar Matini, named to the 2017 Preseason All-America third unit, is a key ingredient in the Yale defense. Last season he recorded 11 ground balls and seven caused turnovers, despite missing five games due to injury. He was part of the 2016 starting lineup with Michael Quinn and Chris Keating, forming a tenacious defense that was in the top 10 in the nation. Matini is listed as a 2017 Preseason Second Team All-New England selection.



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. His tenacity showed in the 2016 Ivy League Tournament, when he and classmate Jason Alessi played a critical role in the defensive zone to secure another championship for the Bulldogs. 



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. After a strong, two-goal performance against Cornell, he has six tallies on the year, along with eight 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. 



More Yale lacrosse games are being aired on national television than in any previous year. Friday's game against Princeton can be seen on ESPNU. The Elis host Brown on April 15, which can again be seen on ESPNU. The game at Maryland earlier this season was also on ESPNU. The 2017 Ivy League Tournament will be aired on the ESPN Networks. In addition, several regular season games will be aired on ESPN3 in partnership with the ILDN, including games against Penn and Harvard.


filed by Andrew Del Vecchio '19, Yale Sports Publicity