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Elis Look to Secure Spot in Ivy Tournament

Brendan Mackie (John Mackie photo)
Brendan Mackie (John Mackie photo)




NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale men's lacrosse team put on its best offensive performance in 27 years on Tuesday at St. John's. The No. 17 Bulldogs (6-3, 3-0 Ivy), coming off a 23-7 win, are back at Reese Stadium this weekend. A five-game winning streak and a spot in the Ivy League Tournament are on the line as the Elis take on Dartmouth (1-7, 0-2) in a 1 p.m. Saturday contest that airs live on the ILDN.



The 23 goals against St. John's were the most by a Yale team since May 5, 1990, when the Bulldogs scored 25 against Adelphi. The freshmen scored nine times, including four from Jackson Morrill. Ben Reeves had a six-point performance (2 G, 4 A) and was one of seven Elis with two or more goals. 



Ben Reeves was named the Ivy League Player of the Week after his seven-point performance against Penn. He recorded five goals, a new career-high, and played a role in half of the goals scored by the Yale offense. Matt Gaudet was named to the Honor Roll for the second consecutive week after another three-goal performance. This is the second straight (Conor Mackie vs. Princeton) week that a Yale player has been named Player of the Week.



Yale leads the all-time series against the Big Green, 52-34 and the Bulldogs have won the past seven meetings. The most recent Dartmouth victory came in 2009. Last year, the Elis travelled to Hanover and came away with a 15-5 victory.  



The Big Green are 1-7 overall and 0-2 in Ivy play after falling 14-5 at Cornell last Saturday. The guys from Hanover are led offensively by Richie Loftus, who has 14 goals and 20 points. Wiley Osborne (8-12-20) and Jack Korzelius (12 goals) are also among the team leaders in scoring, while Christopher George, who has 92 saves in eight games, has all the decisions in net.



After a brief hiatus, the Elis are back in the national rankings after winning four straight games. They are ranked No. 17 in the USILA National Poll, the second highest of any team in the Ivy League, and No. 19 in the Maverik Media Poll. Yale also ranks first in the most recent NEILA poll, above Providence, Brown, and Harvard. 



The Bulldogs have scored 53 goals over the last three. On Tuesday, Ben Reeves led the charge with two goals and four assists, while freshman Jackson Morrill scored four times. Classmate Matt Gaudet put up three goals, and sophomores Jack Tigh and Brendan Mackie put up a hat trick each. Yale put up 48 shots against St. John's, and scored on nearly half of them. Liam Kelly and Brian Ward also scored their first goals of the season. Ben Reeves leads the team in assists, averaging 2.50 per game, good for fifth in the nation. As a team, the Elis are averaging 13.67 goals per game, which ranks sixth in the country.  



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

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



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.



Junior Conor Mackie continues to be successful as the FOGO, going 13-18 against St. John's before being pulled in the second half. He has taken nearly all the face-offs this season and has won 60 percent of his attempts, which ranks 12th in the nation and first in the Ivy League. He is also fifth in the nation with 8.33 groundballs per game. Mackie registered one of the best days ever for a Yale face-off man in the game against Princeton, winning 26 of 33 and recording 18 ground balls. He 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. 



Through nine games, 14 different Bulldogs have found the back of the net a total of 123 times on 339 shots. 



The nine members of the class of 2017 have an overall record of 39-16, 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



Newcomers have been key to the Yale offense this spring. Against St. John's, the freshmen combined to score 11 goals from four different players, including the first goals of the season from Brian Ward. The class of 2020 has scored 46 times this season, including 19 goals from Matt Gaudet. The Ontario native has scored 16 the past six games, including a season-high four against Fairfield, and earned a spot on the Ivy League Honor Roll this week after his three-goal performance against Penn. Gaudet also leads the nation in shot percentage, converting on 61.3% of his shots. The offense has another 15 goals from Jackson Morrill, who scored four times against the Red Storm. The Maryland native also has nine 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 St. John's, giving him eight in the past four games and bringing his season total up to ten goals and an assist. Brian Ward scored twice in the win on Tuesday, while Sam Selati recorded two assists. 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 eleventh best in the nation. 



Ben Reeves, who is probably way more unselfish than his coaches would like, is having another  All-American campaign. He notched two more goals, while adding four assists to lead the team with six points in the win over St. John's. His season point total is now up to 42. In the past six games, he has scored 22 goals and added 15 assists. His season total of 32 (22-20) points rank first on the team. His 5.25 points per game ranks fourth in the Ivy League and eighth in the nation, and his 2.50 assists per game ranks fifth in the nation. He is already climbing up the ranks in the Yale Lacrosse record book, and currently sits seventh for all-time point 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 another goal against St. John's to continue his point streak. He is third on the team with 15 goals, and ranks 12th in the Ivy League with 2.78 points per game. He is second on the team with 25 points (15 G, 10 A). 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 recorded two assists again against St. John's, bringing his season total up to 18. He ranks second on the team in that category, and posted a career-high five assists against Villanova, and is 19th in the nation in assists per game. He has also added six goals so far, matching his 2016 season total, and his 24 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. He sat out Tuesday's contest against the Red Storm with a leg injury. 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. Alessi brought his scoring streak up to five games after scoring twice from distance against St. John's. He has 10 tallies on the year, along with 13 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. An away contest at Albany later this season can also be seen on ESPN3, along with the regular season finale against Harvard. The game at Maryland earlier this season was also on ESPNU. The 2017 Ivy League Tournament will be aired on the ESPN Networks.


filed by Andrew Del Vecchio '19, Yale Sports Publicity