BULLDOGS LOOK FOR FIRST PERFECT IVY SLATE SINCE 1956
- Full Game Notes in PDF
- Ivy League Tournament Ticket Information
- Watch on ILDN
- Tickets for Harvard game
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale men's lacrosse team, winners of seven its last eight games, has an opportunity to do something special in Saturday's regular-season finale at Harvard. The No. 11 Bulldogs (8-4, 5-0 Ivy), who have already clinched the top seed and hosting rights for next weekend's league tournament, can grab sole possession of first place and notch the school's first perfect Ivy slate since 1956 with a win at Harvard Stadium. The 2 p.m. contest airs live on the Ivy League Digital Network and ESPN3.
Yale is looking for a sixth Ivy League win and its first perfect league season in 60 years. In addition, every game counts toward building NCAA Tournament credentials.
Yale leads the all-time series against Harvard, 62-37. The Elis won both contests in 2016, which included a 9-8 comeback victory at the end of the regular season, followed by a 14-9 win in the Ivy League Tournament Championship Game.
The Bulldogs played their final non-conference game of the regular season against No. 5 Albany. The team held a lead into the fourth quarter, but five straight Albany goals helped the Great Danes escape with a 13-12 victory. Jason Alessi and Joseph Sessa set career-bests with three goals each.
Ben Reeves has been named the Ivy League Player of the Week twice this season. He received the most recent award after recording a career-high 10 points, including a career-high five goals against Brown. Matt Gaudet has been named to the Ivy Honor Roll for four weeks this season. 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 Crimson began the season with four straight wins before falling to Penn State 15-12 in the middle of March. That was the first of three consecutive losses before a win over Dartmouth, and Harvard is currently on a four-game skid after losing to Princeton last weekend 12-9. The Crimson's Ivy losses have all been close contests.
The Elis held their position in the national rankings after a narrow loss to a top 5 team. They are ranked No. 11 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 48 goals over the last three contests. Last Saturday, eight different Bulldogs found the back of the net, including three goals from both Jason Alessi and Joseph Sessa. Yale, which put up 40 shots against Albany, ranks sixth in the nation in shots per game. Ben Reeves leads the team in assists, averaging 2.55 per game, good for sixth in the nation. As a team, the Elis are averaging 13.83 goals per game, which ranks sixth in the country.
Yale's win over Brown on April 15 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 ESPNU. The No. 1 seeded Bulldogs play No. 4 Penn on May 5 at 6 p.m. The 3:30 p.m. semifinal pits No. 2 Princeton vs. No. 3 Brown. 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.
2017 ELI INDIVIDUAL SEASON-BESTS
Points: 8, Ben Reeves vs. Brown
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 16-for-29 against Albany, increasing his streak of games with better than 50 percent face-off wins to eight. He has taken nearly all the face-offs this season and has won 60.1 percent of his attempts, which ranks 12th in the nation and second in the Ivy League. He is also third in the nation with 8.33 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 scored goals for a total of 166 on 480 shots.
The nine members of the class of 2017 have helped Yale to an overall record of 41-17 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. The class of 2020 has scored 60 times this season, including 26 goals from Matt Gaudet. The Ontario native had his scoring streak come to an end at nine games last Saturday, and that run included a career-high four-goal performance against Brown. He has earned a spot on the Ivy League Honor Roll for four of the past five weeks. Gaudet also leads the nation in shot percentage, converting on 59.1 percent. The offense has another 17 goals from Jackson Morrill, who scored six times in the past three games. The Maryland native also has 14 assists, including a career-high of four helpers against Brown. His six-point performance against Villanova earned him an Ivy League Rookie of the Week award. He has recorded a point in nine straight games. Lucas Cotler is also a factor for the Yale offense, scoring another goal in the Albany game. Cotler now has scored in seven 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 29 goals and has also added 28 assists. Against Brown he set a career-high, 10-point outing. In the past four games, he has scored 21 points, and his point streak is now up to 30 games. His 5.18 points per game ranks second in the Ivy League and fifth in the nation, and his 2.55 assists per game ranks sixth 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 one goal 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 one goal and added one assist against Albany and is now third on the team with 22 goals. He is second on the team with 34 points. His point streak is now up to 15 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. He was a summer volunteer with Costa Rica Charity Lacrosse, a foundation that spreads the game of lacrosse while helping the community in Samara, Costa Rica by running lacrosse clinics for local kids, cleaning beaches, and renovating soccer fields. He also volunteers with New Haven Inner-City Lacrosse in weekly lacrosse clinics for at-risk middle school students. 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. 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 tied a career-high with three goals against the Great Danes, while also adding an assist. His season assist total is up to 20. He ranks second on the team in that category, and posted a career-high five assists against Villanova. Sessa, who is 31st in the nation in assists per game, has also added 10 goals, beating his 2016 season total (3 came at Bryant). His 30 points are the fourth-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 four 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 set a career-high by scoring three times against Albany. He has 14 tallies on the year, along with six assists, 17 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