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Bulldogs, Bears in Big Game

Tyler Warner
Tyler Warner

FINAL REGULAR SEASON HOME GAME 

 

 

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Two men's lacrosse teams that hit an icy patch of non-league play early in the season and have successfully rebounded with hopes of returning to the NCAA Tournament are squaring off Saturday at Reese Stadium. Yale (7-3, 4-0 Ivy), 2016 Ivy Tournament champs and winners of its last six straight, hosts defending regular-season league champion Brown (5-4, 2-1), which has captured four of its last five contests. The noon game airs live on ESPNU with Mike Corey and Paul Carcaterra calling the action.

 

IMPLICATIONS

Yale, hoping to keep its conference record unblemished, has already clinched a spot in the post season. A win on Saturday against Brown would clinch at least a share of the Ivy regular-season title and the No. 1 seed in the May 5-7 league tournament. That means hosting the Ivy event for the first time. The Bears are trying to gain a tie for the top spot in the league with hopes of bringing the Ivy Tournament back to Providence for a third straight year.

 

THE SERIES

Brown leads the all-time series against the Bulldogs, 36-25-1. The Bears came away with a 14-12 win at home last season in a regular-season thriller. The 2016 decision broke a string of seven straight Yale wins in the series.

 

LAST GAME

The Elis continued to play well on both sides of the field in a 13-6 win over Dartmouth last Saturday at Reese. The Bulldogs scored the first eight goals of the game and led by as many as 11 goals at one point in the second half. Matt Gaudet led Yale with his fourth straight three-goal outing, while Ben Reeves added four points. The Bulldogs went 17 of 22 on the X thanks to another great day for Conor Mackie

 

IVY AWARDS

Matt Gaudet was named to the Honor Roll for the third straight week after another three-goal performance last Saturday. Ben Reeves was named the Ivy League Player of the Week after his seven-point performance at Penn. He recorded five goals, a new career-high, and played a role in half of the goals scored by the Yale offense. Conor Mackie was the other Yale player to earn Player of the Week honors after winning 26 face-offs against Princeton, and Jackson Morrill was named the Rookie of the Week after a five-goal performance against Villanova.

 

BROWN

Freshman goalie Phil Goss made a career high 19 saves to lead the Bears to an 11-8 win over Penn last Saturday at Stevenson-Pincince Field in Providence. 2016 Tewaaraton Award winner Dylan Molloy had two goals and four points while Jackson Newsome, Luke McCaleb and Michael Panepinto also hit the net twice against the Quakers. Ted Ottens helped the Bears by winning 16 of 23 face-offs and snatching eight ground balls. Like the Bulldogs, Brown opened the season with a win and then lost three straight. The Bears got things rolling with consecutive victories over Harvard, Holy Cross and UMass before falling to Princeton two weeks ago.

 

RANKINGS

After a brief hiatus, the Elis are back and climbing in the national rankings after winning six straight games. They are ranked No. 15 in the USILA National Poll, the second 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. 

 

OFFENSE

The Bulldogs have scored 66 goals over the last four dates. Last Saturday nine different Bulldogs found the back of the net, including the first of the year from defenseman Robert Mooney. Yale, which put up 47 shots against Dartmouth, has 95 over the past two games. Ben Reeves leads the team in assists, averaging 2.56 per game, good for sixth in the nation. As a team, the Elis are averaging 13.60 goals per game, which ranks seventh in the country. 

 

2017 ELI INDIVIDUAL SEASON-BESTS

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

 

ON THE X

Junior Conor Mackie is a crucial component for the Elis at FOGO. He went 14-for-16 against Dartmouth before being pulled in the final quarter. He has taken nearly all the face-offs this season and has won 61.8 percent of his attempts, which ranks seventh in the nation and first in the Ivy League. He is also third in the nation with 8.6 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 found the back of the net a total of 136 times on 386 shots. 

 

SENIOR LEADERS

April 15 is the final regular season home game for nine members of the class of 2017 who have helped Yale to an overall record of 40-16. That includes two Ivy League Tournament titles and a pair of 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

 

FRESHMAN FOCUS

Newcomers have been key to the Yale offense this spring. Against Dartmouth, three freshmen combined to score six goals. The class of 2020 has scored 52 times this season, including 22 goals from Matt Gaudet. The Ontario native has scored 12 the past four games, including three straight hat tricks, and has twice earned a spot on the Ivy League Honor Roll. Gaudet also leads the nation in shot percentage, converting on 62.9 percent of his shots. The offense has another 16 goals from Jackson Morrill, who scored five times in the past two games. The Maryland native also has 10 assists, and his six-point performance against Villanova earned him an Ivy League Rookie of the Week award. Lucas Cotler is also a factor for the Yale offense, scoring twice in the win over St. John's and in the win over Dartmouth. Cotler now has 10 goals in the past five games. Brian Ward scored twice in the win on Tuesday over St. John's, 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. 

 

REEVES

Ben Reeves, who is having another All-American campaign, might be the ultimate team player. He leads the team with 23 goals and has the same number of assists.  He is coming off a four-point outing in the win over the Big Green which increased his season point total to a team-high 46. In the past seven games, he has scored 23 goals and added 18 assists. His 5.11 points per game ranks fourth in the Ivy League and eighth in the nation, and his 2.56 assists per game ranks sixth in the nation. He is already climbing up the ranks in the Yale Lacrosse record book, and currently sits sixth for all-time point scoring. Reeves made team history last year as the first Yale player named one of the five finalists for the Tewaaraton 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. 

 

SCOTT

Senior midfielder Eric Scott has been a consistent part of the Yale offense with points in every game and goals in all but one. He scored two goals against Dartmouth and is now third on the team with 17 goals. He is second on the team with 28 points. 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 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. 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). 

 

SESSA

Sophomore Joseph Sessa has been an essential asset to the Yale offense. He is a team sparkplug who has distributed the ball effectively. Sessa had a quiet game against Dartmouth, but his season assist total is up to 18. He ranks second on the team in that category, and posted a career-high five assists against Villanova. Sessa, who is 19th in the nation in assists per game, has also added six goals, matching his 2016 season total (3 came at Bryant). His 24 points are the fifth-most on the team. Listed at 5-feet, 5-inches on the roster, Sessa uses his speed and athleticism to create opportunities.

 

PRATT

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. 

 

MATINI

Senior Camyar Matini, named to the 2017 Preseason All-America third unit, is a key ingredient in the Yale defense who has been missing the last two games with an injury. 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. 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.

 

WARNER

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. 

 

ALESSI

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 six games after scoring against Dartmouth. He has 11 tallies on the year, along with five assists, 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. 

 

PRESEASON HONORS

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