Practice Begins This Week
New Haven, Conn. - Yale, ranked no. 17 in the USILA preseason poll, comes into the season fresh off its third straight double-digit winning season, an Ivy League Tournament championship and its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 20 years.
With 10 talented freshmen joining 19 returning letterwinners, Andy Shay, the Ryan & Forst Family Head Coach, looks to improve on a squad that enjoyed a nine-game winning streak in 2012.
Here is a look at this year's team.
Junior Brandon Mangan (26-11-37), Yale's top offensive returner, scored seven goals in last year's postseason and returns to lead the Bulldog attack as Yale's active career goal leader. Sophomore Conrad Oberbeck (20-6-26) provides another major scoring threat.
The Eli attack looks to benefit from seven newcomers, including three highly touted freshmen. Michael Bonacci (Crofton, MD) was rated no. 97 on insidelacrosse.com's list of the top 100 incoming freshman, while both John-William Mcgovern (San Francisco, CA) and Max Skibber (Katy, TX) earned All-American honors last spring. Shane Carr (Lansdale, PA), Mark Glicini (Mahwah, NJ), and Jonathon Lee (Hopkinton, MA) are also impressive newcomers.
Junior Ryan McCarthy (4-10-14) returns to his role as a first midfielder. Shane Thorton (5-9-14) also headlines a strong core of sophomores. Colin Flaherty (7-1-8, in photo) adds another scoring option while Harry Kucharczyk (34GB, 14 CT) returns as the top defensive midfielder. Fellow sophomore Sean Shakespeare, senior Michael Lipin and junior Alex Otero played key back-up roles last year and look to make their mark on this year's campaign.
Junior Jackson Logie will battle for playing time at defensive midfield along with sophomores L.J. Hunt and James Tjarkson.
Two freshman could also earn spots in the lineup: Michael Keasey (Newport Beach, CA), a 2012 All-American and Lacrosse Magazine West Coast Player of the Year, and Jonathon Reese (West Islip, NY), son of Jon Reese '90, the school's all-time leading scorer. Sophomore Jared DePalma will add depth to this unit.
2012 honorable mention Ivy League and All-American Dylan Levings returns for battle on the X. His .632 face-off percentage last season was good for fourth in Division 1, while his 6.63 ground balls per game ranked ninth. Levings has been selected for a slew of pre-season honors, most notably insidelacrosse.com preseason H.M. All-American and first-team Ivy-League.
Junior Jimmy Craft returns with the most game experience, playing in all 16 contests last season and picking up a position-high 28 ground balls while causing nine turnovers. Freshman Reilly Naton (Duxbury, MA), chosen no. 77 on lnsidelacrosse.com's list of top 100 incoming freshmen, could make an immediate impact. Sophomore Alec Bullen will also battle for playing time.
Opposition attackers will be challenged this year as captain Michael McCormack (3-4-7; 55 GB, 34 CT) and fellow senior Peter Johnson (50 GB, 29 CT) return to lead the defense. McCormack finished the season ranked sixth in Division I with 2.13 caused turnovers per game, and was chosen second-team All-Ivy and first-team All-New England. Peter Johnson, a first-team All-Ivy and honorable mention All-American, caused 1.81 turnovers per game, good for 16th in D1. Both Johnson and McCormack have been selected as preseason All-Ivy Leaguers and All-Americans by insidelacrosse.com.
Senior Phil Gross, who started all 14 games his sophomore year, is back after sitting out last season with an injury. Juniors John Ambrose and Alex Moffit could also make a significant impact after receiving substantial playing time last season.
Jack Meyer '14 (112 SV, 48.7 SV%), ended the season ranked 14th in Division 1 with 8.70 saves a game and returns after strong performances in Ivy League tournament wins against Princeton and Cornell. Sophomore Eric Natale provides depth and will compete for time after starting three games and playing in five last season. Senior Peter Spaulding will add to the competition and provide an important veteran presence.