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Bulldogs Look For 4th Straight Win

Team celebrates during the win over Princeton (George Duran photo)
Team celebrates during the win over Princeton (George Duran photo)



NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale men's lacrosse team, after an important conference win against No. 13 Princeton, is back on the road this week for its third straight league game. The No. 19 Bulldogs (4-3, 2-0 Ivy) have now won three in a row and travel to Philadelphia to play Penn (4-3, 1-1) in a 1 p.m. Saturday contest that airs live on the Ivy League Digital Network and the Philadelphia affiliate of CSN.  



In their second game of the season against a ranked opponent, the Bulldogs came out to play against the No. 13 Tigers at Princeton. Ben Reeves was a dominant force on offense, scoring eight points (4 G, 4 A). Matt Gaudet added three, while Jackson Morrill, Lucas Cotler, Eric Scott, and Joey Sessa each scored twice. 



Junior Conor Mackie registered one of the best days ever for a Yale face-off man last weekend at Princeton. Mackie won 26 of 33 battles on the X and scooped up 18 ground balls. Brian Wilhelm was the last Bulldog to win 26 face-offs in a game when he was successful on 26 of 32 at Penn on March 18, 1995, in a 16-13 Yale win. Mackie has taken all but three of the face-offs this season and has won 59 percent of his attempts, which ranks 22nd in the nation. In the past three games, he has won 76.1 percent of face-offs (67 of 88). Mackie also tied the NCAA record for the fastest goal in a game when he scored just three seconds into the March 18 contest against Cornell. 



Conor Mackie was named the Ivy League Player of the Week after his record performance against Princeton. Ben Reeves (4 G, 4 A) and Matt Gaudet (3 G) were also named to the Ivy League Honor Roll after beating the Tigers. 



Yale leads the all-time series against Penn, 41-27, and the Bulldogs have won eight of the past 10 meetings. The Bulldogs won both matchups last season, including an overtime victory at Reese Stadium during the regular season. The two teams met in the Ivy League Tournament Semifinal, when the Elis came away with another one-goal victory. 



The Quakers are coming off a 10-9 win at Cornell last weekend that required scoring the game's last three goals. JJ McBride notched the game-winner with less than two minutes to play. Penn's other wins have come against Virginia, Navy and St. Joseph's, while two of the three losses this season have been by one goal.



After a brief hiatus, the Elis are back in the national rankings after upsetting No. 13 Princeton on the road. They are ranked No. 19 in the USILA National Poll, the second highest of any team in the Ivy League, and No. 20 in the Maverik Media Poll.  



The Bulldogs scored 16 times last Saturday from six different players including five who scored multiple times. Ben Reeves led the charge with four goals and four assists. Eric Scott put up two goals and two assists, while freshman Matt Gaudet scored his third hat trick of the year. Yale put up 47 shots against Princeton, the most of any game this season. Ben Reeves is tied with Joey Sessa for the team lead in assists, averaging 2.33 per game, good for 6th in the nation. 



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

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

Points: 8, Ben Reeves vs. Princeton

Saves: 15, Phil Huffard vs. Villanova

CTs: 4, Eric Scott vs. Bryant

Face-off Wins: 26, Conor Mackie vs. Princeton



Through seven games, 12 different Bulldogs have found the back of the net a total of 86 times on 261 shots. 



The nine members of the class of 2017 have an overall record of 37-16, 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 30 times this season, including 13 goals from Matt Gaudet. The Ontario native has scored ten the past four games, including a season-high four against Fairfield, and earned a spot on the Ivy League Honor Roll this week. The offense has another 11 goals from Jackson Morrill. The Maryland native also has eight 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 Princeton, giving him four in the past two games and bringing his season total up to six goals and an assist. Will Weitzel has been solid at the LSM position, backing up Brian Pratt, while Brody Wilson is doing well between the pipes after a six-save performance against the Tigers, bringing his overall record to 3-0. The new Bulldogs come from seven different states and a Canadian province, and Inside Lacrosse ranked this recruiting class as the eleventh best in the nation. 



Ben Reeves had another big day for the Yale offense. He notched four goals and four assists in the win over Princeton, bringing his season point total up to 29. In the past four games, he has scored 15 goals and added nine assists. His season total of 29 (15-14) points rank first on the team. His 4.83 points per game ranks fourth in the Ivy League, and his 2.33 assists per game ranks sixth in the nation. He is already climbing up the ranks in the Yale Lacrosse record book, and currently sits seventh 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 scored twice while notching two assists in the win over Princeton. He is third on the team with 12 goals, and ranks 12th in the Ivy League with 3.00 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 yet another impressive stat line against Princeton, scoring two goals while adding an assist. He has 14 assists, including a career-high of five against Villanova, and is 17th in the nation in assists per game. He has also added six goals so far, matching his 2016 season total, and his 20 points are the third-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. He has recorded nine groundballs and five caused turnovers, already almost matching his total from 2016. 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, one-goal performance against Princeton, he has seven tallies on the year, along with ten 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. 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.



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.


filed by Andrew Del Vecchio '19, Yale Sports Publicity