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Battle of Ranked Teams in New York

Team celebrates during the win over Brown
Team celebrates during the win over Brown



NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The No. 12 Yale men's lacrosse team, which has clinched a share of the 2017 Ivy League Regular Season title and will host the post-season tournament, puts its seven-game win streak on the line this weekend in a big, non-league contest near the New York capital. The Bulldogs (8-3, 5-0 Ivy) and No. 5 Albany (9-2, 4-0 AE), which had its win streak end at nine games last week, square off at John Fallon Field on Saturday at 7 p.m. in a game that airs live on ESPN3.



Yale is looking for a win against a highly ranked team that might enhance credibility with the NCAA Tournament selection committee.



Yale and Albany have both won six times, including a split of the last four. The Great Danes came away with an overtime victory at Reese Stadium last spring.



The Bulldogs secured at least a share of the Ivy League regular season title with a convincing 18-12 win over the Brown Bears at Reese Stadium. Ben Reeves led the offensive charge with a career-high 10 points (5 G, 5 A). Eric Scott and Matt Gaudet each recorded four-goal performances and Jackson Morrill posted four assists. Phil Huffard finished with a career-high 15 saves. 



Ben Reeves was named the Ivy League Player of the Week for the second time this season after recording a career-high 10 points, including a career-high five goals. Matt Gaudet was named to the Ivy Honor Roll for the fourth straight week after a four-goal performance against Brown. Conor Mackie was the other Yale player to earn Player of the Week honors this year after winning 26 face-offs against Princeton, and Jackson Morrill was named the Rookie of the Week after a five-goal performance against Villanova.



The Great Danes opened the season with a 10-9 loss at Syracuse and then reeled off nine straight wins. The long streak came to an end when No. 3 Maryland came to the state capital and took home a 12-11 victory. That was the same score by which the Terps (No. 1 at the time) beat Yale back in late February down in College Park. Before facing the Bulldogs this weekend, the Danes have a Wednesday game against Binghamton.



After a brief hiatus, the Elis are back and climbing in the national rankings after winning six straight games. They are ranked No. 12 in the USILA National Poll, the highest of any team in the Ivy League, and No. 11 in the Maverik Media Poll. Yale also ranks first in the most recent NEILA poll, above Providence, Brown, and Harvard. 



The Bulldogs have scored 54 goals over the last three contests. Last Saturday seven different Bulldogs found the back of the net, including three players with at least four goals. Yale, which put up 54 shots against Brown, has 102 over the past two games. Ben Reeves leads the team in assists, averaging 2.80 per game, good for fifth in the nation. As a team, the Elis are averaging 14 goals per game, which ranks sixth in the country. 



Yale's win over Brown clinched the top seed and the home field in the May 5-7 Ivy League Tournament. The semifinals begin that Friday at 3:30 p.m. with a noon Sunday championship contest. All the games air on ESPN. The Bulldogs will play in their eighth consecutive Ivy event. 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 8-3 overall and have outscored opponents 114-90.



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

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

Points: 8, Ben Reeves vs. Brown

Saves: 15, Phil Huffard vs. Villanova, Phil Huffard vs. Brown

CTs: 4, Eric Scott vs. Bryant

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



Junior Conor Mackie is a crucial component for the Elis at FOGO. He went 17-for-33 against Brown, increasing his streak of games with better than 50 percent face-off wins to seven. He has taken nearly all the face-offs this season and has won 60.6 percent of his attempts, which ranks 10th in the nation and first in the Ivy League. He is also third in the nation with 8.55 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. 



Fifteen different Bulldogs have scored goals for a total of 154 on 440 shots. 



Last weekend was the final regular season home game for nine members of the class of 2017 who have helped Yale to an overall record of 41-16 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. Against Brown, three freshmen combined to score six goals and record four assists. The class of 2020 has scored 58 times this season, including 26 goals from Matt Gaudet. The Ontario native has scored at least three goals in five straight games, including a career-high four-goal performance last weekend. He has earned a spot on the Ivy League Honor Roll for four consecutive weeks. Gaudet also leads the nation in shot percentage, converting on 61.9 percent, while his goal streak is now up to nine games. The offense has another 16 goals from Jackson Morrill, who scored five times in the past two games. The Maryland native also has 14 assists after recording four against Brown, and his six-point performance against Villanova earned him an Ivy League Rookie of the Week award. He has recorded a point in eight straight games. Lucas Cotler is also a factor for the Yale offense, scoring another two goals in the win over Brown. Cotler now has scored two goals in six 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 is having another All-American campaign, might be the ultimate team player, and made his case to be on the Tewaaraton Award watch list after his best statistical performance ever. He leads the team with 28 goals and has the same number of assists.  He is coming off a career-high, 10-point outing in the win over the Bears, which increased his season point total to a team-high 56. In the past three games, he has scored 20 points, and his point streak is now up to 29 games. His 5.60 points per game ranks first in the Ivy League and second in the nation, and his 2.80 assists per game ranks fifth in the nation. He is already climbing up the ranks in the Yale Lacrosse record book, and currently sits fifth for all-time point scoring, and is two goals away from reaching the 100 mark on his career. 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. 



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 four more times against Brown and is now third on the team with 21 goals. He is second on the team with 32 points. His point streak is now up to 14 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. 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). 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 is a team sparkplug who has distributed the ball effectively. Sessa had a two-point performance against Brown, but his season assist total is up to 19. He ranks second on the team in that category, and posted a career-high five assists against Villanova. Sessa, who is 26th in the nation in assists per game, has also added seven goals, beating his 2016 season total (3 came at Bryant). His 26 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.



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 the last three 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. 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. 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's scoring streak came to an end at six games after being held scoreless against Brown. He has 11 tallies on the year, along with six assists, 16 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