No. 16 Yale Set To Open 2011 Season
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The 2011 Yale men's lacrosse team, ranked 16th in Inside Lacrosse's Face-Off Magazine pre-season poll, is in good position to defend its first Ivy League Title since 1990. Yale is coming off a 10-4 season, 4-2 in conference play, and is looking to make a run at a long-awaited return to the NCAA tournament. The Bulldogs, who scrimmage Stony Brook (Noon) and Merrimack (2:30) this Sunday at Reese Stadium, return 30 players, including all three close defensemen from 2010, five of the top seven scorers and the starting goalie. Here is a Bulldog breakdown by position.
Junior Matt Gibson (26-18-44) leads the attack after a breakout 2010 season. Gibson's breakout season included a five-goal, three-assist performance in a win against No. 12 UMass and five-point games against Penn, No. 19 Brown and Dartmouth. The 2010 New England Player of the Year and an honorable mention USILA All-American will be joined by senior Brian Douglass (32-6-38), who led the team in goals last spring. Douglass' season included an eight-point game against Penn and a clutch three-goal game against Harvard to help clinch the 2010 Ivy League Championship. A number of players look to break into the third spot on attack with Gibson and Douglass. Brandon Mangan (Wantagh, NY/Wantagh) and Ryan McCarthy (South Glastonbury, Conn./Glastonbury) both showed tremendous promise in the fall. Mangan, the 2010 Nassau County Attackman of the Year on Long Island, proved to be a great complement to Gibson and Douglass in the fall. McCarthy, a 2010 High School All-American and two-time all-state player, brings exceptional finishing ability and another lefty to the Bulldog attack. Deron Dempster (2-0-2) spent another summer playing box in Canada and will push for time on the extra-man unit. Junior Ben Gifford has seen action in games since his freshman year, and has a knack for finishing the ball as well. Gifford was a first-team all-state attackman in Ohio, and will look to increase his minutes and his production this year.
The Bulldogs return two of the top midfielders in the Ivy League for 2011. Junior Gregory Mahony (21-1-22) returns after a strong 2010 campaign. Mahony led the Bulldog midfielders in goals and garnered second-team All-Ivy honors. Mahony was voted to the inaugural All-Ivy Tournament Team after scoring three goals in the Bulldogs' 7-6 semifinal loss to Princeton. Mahony was also voted to the 2011 Pre-season All-Ivy team. 2010 All-New England pick Matt Miller (12-6-18) also returns on the top midfield line. Miller is a strong, physical player who looks to improve on his scoring in 2011. Colin Still (5-5-10) really has impressed the coaching staff this fall with his competitiveness and work ethic. Senior Jack Flaherty is looking to have a strong senior year and was one of the most productive players in the fall. Sophomores Michael Lipin, Bryan Walker, Kirby Zdrill (1-1-2) and Andrew Cordia (1-4-5) will all make contributions in the 2011 season. Cordia was a valuable member of the extra man unit in 2010 and may also play attack. Zdrill moves to the midfield in 2011 and was the leading scorer on his box lacrosse team last summer in Alberta. Class of 2014 members Jared DePalma (Manlius, NY/Christian Brothers Academy) and Alex Otero (Basking Ridge, NJ/Ridge) will also contribute. Depalma brings impressive size and skill while Otero, a 2010 high school all-American and NJ High School Midfielder of the Year, is already one of the team's top all around lacrosse players.
Senior captain LSM Patrick Coleman was second on the team with 48 ground balls last year. Coleman has played every game in his career at Yale and capped an outstanding junior year with a key goal in the Bulldogs 9-8 win over Harvard to finish the regular season. Freshman LSM Jimmy Craft (Darien, Conn./Brunswick School) and Jack Ambrose (Westport, Conn./Staples), add depth behind Coleman. At defensive midfield, junior Michael Pratt (2-1-3) leads the way after a strong 2010 season. He was named to the 2011 pre-season All-Ivy team. Mark Dobrosky (0-2-2) ran alongside Pratt this fall. Dobrosky played on the second midfield as a sophomore and brings a strong lacrosse IQ to the position. Five other players look to add depth: Seniors Alfonso Costa, Chad Costello, and Alex Forrey all bring experience to the position. Junior Robby Berner will return to the team after another stellar squash season. The double Ivy champion has a good chance to press for time on the defensive midfield or at the faceoff X. Freshman Jackson Logie (New Canaan, Conn./Deerfield Academy) has impressed the staff with his work ethic.
All three starters return for Yale on a close defense that finished 10th nationally in goals-against-average and sixth in caused turnovers. Sophomore Michael McCormack leads the Bulldogs in both groundballs and caused turnovers (50 and 18). McCormack an All-New England and honorable mention All-Ivy player, is expected to build on his strong 2011 campaign. He will also be a part of the faceoff unit. Peter Johnson (26), an honorable mention All-Ivy pick in 2010, made the move from long stick midfield to close defense in the middle of the year. The move paid strong dividends as Johnson blossomed at close defense and drew the opponents' top attackman for the remainder of the year. Phil Gross (23) started the entire year and is one of the teams' most consistent performers. Junior Lucas Aronson earned a starting job last year but was injured during the Holy Cross game and missed the remainder of the 2010 season. Seniors Eric Gresham, Nicholas Leppla and Steve McLachlan add depth and energy to the unit. Junior Michael Sweeney (13 gb) was the first guy off the bench as a sophomore and was an integral part of the man-down unit. Freshman Alex Moffit (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif./Cathedral Catholic) is a tall lefty with great range who adds depth to the close defense.
Senior Johnathan Falcone (14 gp, .502 SP, 8.54 GAA) started all 14 games and played all but 17 minutes while earning honorable mention All-Ivy honors. Sophomore Peter Spaulding (1 gp) and freshman Jack Meyer (Manhasset, NY/Manhasset) have both impressed the coaching staff. Spaulding is a strong stopper and Meyer is a terrific clearing goalie. Both will push Falcone for playing time this spring.
Last year's unit was ranked eighth in faceoff percentage, and that leaves big shoes to fill at the X. Sophomore Cole Yeager and Dylan Levings (Massapequa, NY/Plainedge) will battle for the starting job. Yeager was forced into duty as a freshman against Detroit Mercy and delivered a 9-for-13 performance. Levings was one of top faceoff players in high school lacrosse in 2010. Alex Otero and Robbie Berner provide depth to the unit.