Bulldogs Take On No. 1 Syracuse

Yale-Orange on ESPN2 Saturday, 3 p.m.

 

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale men's lacrosse team (12-4), which captured its first NCAA Tournament win since 1992 on Saturday at Penn State, takes on No. 1 seed Syracuse (14-3) at 3 p.m. this Saturday on Capital One Field in Byrd Stadium at College Park, Md. This national quarterfinal can be seen on ESPN2. The Bulldogs, playing in the NCAA Tournament for a school-record second straight spring, are coming off a 10-7 win at No. 8 seed Penn State. The Orangemen advanced to the second round by beating Bryant at the Carrier Dome, 12-7, on Sunday night.

 

SERIES

Yale and Syracuse last met 13 years ago at Boca Raton, Fla., an 18-6 Orange win on March 11, 2000. The neutral site game was one of four in the Sunshine State for the two teams when the Elis used to make early season trips to the south. Syracuse leads the overall series 18-4. The Bulldogs last win was 11-9 in 1963 at New Haven. This is the second NCAA Tournament meeting for the two; The Orange won 17-8 on May 16, 1992, at Syracuse.

 

NCAA FIELD

The other NCAA Quarterfinal at Byrd Stadium pits Cornell against Ohio State at 12:30 on Saturday, but the winner of the Yale-Syracuse game does not face the team advancing from the first contest. The winner of the Denver (No. 4)-North Carolina (5) game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind., takes on the Yale-Syracuse survivor at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on May 25 at either 2:30 or 5 p.m. in a national semifinal. The Bulldogs and Big Red are the only non-seeded teams remaining in the field.

 

BULLDOG SLATE

The team departs from New Haven by bus at 1 p.m. on Thursday. The Bulldogs have a 12:50 to 1:50 practice at Byrd Stadium on Friday. Saturday's opening face-off against Syracuse is scheduled for 3:00, but that is the earliest it can start. The Ohio State-Cornell game could push the start time back, but the Yale contest can't start until 30 minutes after the opener has concluded.

 IF YALE WINS, IT WOULD…
  • reach its first national semifinal since 1990…
  • be the 13th win this season, the most since the 1990 team had 16…
  • play a school-record three NCAA Tournament games this spring…
  • tie a season-best mark of five straight wins this spring
 

BULLDOGS BITE LIONS

Yale overcame a 5-1 halftime deficit by scoring nine of the game's next 10 goals on the way to an impressive 10-7 win at Penn State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The final stats were balanced other than the Nittany Lions taking 13 of the 20 face-offs, but the Elis never lost confidence and went on a historic offensive run. Colin Flaherty led the way with three goals while Conrad Oberbeck hit the net twice and had three points. Eric Natale stopped 10 shots overall after allowing just two goals in the last 30 minutes.

 

ROAD WARRIORS

The Blue has played five straight games (3 road, 2 neutral) outside of New Haven since finishing off its 2013 home schedule on April 15 against Stony Brook (11-10 OT win). Yale has won four of the five games, the only loss coming in a one-goal decision (8-7) at Byrd Stadium against Maryland on April 20. The Blue is 7-3 in games played away from Reese Stadium this spring.

 

COACH CONNECTIONS

Yale offensive coordinator Graham Niemi (10th season at Yale) is a 1997 University of Maryland graduate who helped his Terrapin squad – as an assistant coach - make the 1997 national final (loss to Princeton). As a player in 1995, his UM team fell to Syracuse in the 1995 national championship game. Paul Carcaterra, the sideline reporter for ESPN2 on Saturday, was on that Syracuse team. This will be Yale's second game of 2013 on the turf at Byrd Stadium, the home of Niemi's alma mater. Defensive coordinator Andrew Baxter (first year at Yale) will know one of the teams playing in the first game very well, and it's not Cornell. Baxter spent the previous four years as the top assistant for Ohio State.

 

CALLING THE GAME

The ESPN2 talent for Saturday includes Eamon McAnaney doing play by play, Quint Kessenich as analyst and Paul Carcaterra on the sidelines.

 

YALE WINS 2ND IVY LEAGUE TOURNAMENT

The Bulldogs became the first school to win a pair of Ivy League tournament titles by dispatching Penn and Princeton on May 3 and 5 at Ithaca. Tournament MVP Dylan Levings kept the ball on Bulldog sticks, winning 19 of 23 face-offs and picking up 13 ground balls. An unselfish team to the core, nine Elis registered a goal, while Brandon Mangan, Kirby Zdrill and Conrad Oberbeck each netted a pair. The defense held an explosive Princeton offense to eight goals with aid from Eric Natale, who turned in another gem with 10 saves.

 

SYRACUSE

The Orange have won 11 national championships, including the 2008 and 2009 titles, and they have played in 16 title games overall. Syracuse, a Big East member that is 3-0 in neutral site games this spring, won the conference tournament championship by beating Villanova on May 4.

 

YALE NCAA HISTORY

Yale has played in the NCAAs four (1988, 90, 92, 2012) times and are 2-4 overall. The best run came in 1990 when the Blue beat Princeton in the quarters before falling in OT to Loyola at Rutgers Stadium in the semis.

YALE IN IVY TOURNEY

The Yale men's lacrosse team has won half of the Ivy League Tournament titles. After losing its first two Ivy Tournament games, the Blue has won four straight to become the first school ever to win two. The Bulldogs entered this season's tournament as the No. 2 seed, they were a No. 3 seed in 2012 and 2010 (6-7, Princeton) and a No. 4 two years ago (7-11, Cornell).

 

IVY TOURNEY MVP

Dylan Levings won 12 consecutive face-offs to open the contest and ending the day with victories in 19 of the 23 battles on the X in the title game victory over Princeton. In the semis, Levings took 11 of 17 face-offs, which meant he had won 75 percent of the face-offs in the two games. On being named MVP, he felt it was an honor, but said, "it's cooler to be going back to the NCAA tournament. That's definitely much more exciting to me."

 

IVY TITLES

Yale, which shared a league title in 2010, has won six Ivy League Championships, including the first one handed out in 1956. The others came in 1969, 1988, 89, 90 and 2010. The outright titles were in 1956 and 1989.

 

YALE IN POST SEASON

The Bulldogs have played 13 post-season games including seven in NCAA Tournaments and six in the Ivy League Tournament. Yale is 3-4 in NCAA games and 4-2 in Ivy appearances.

 

YALE WINS NEW ENGLAND CHAMPIONSHIP

The eight New England head coaches vote each week on the top teams in the region.

1. Yale

2. Fairfield

3. Brown 

4. UMass

5. Harvard

6. Providence

7. Bryant

8. Holy Cross

 

ALMOST UNDEFEATED?

The Yale men's lacrosse team lost four regular-season games this spring by a combined five goals. The Bulldogs have outscored their opponents 167-128 this season.

 

THE BEST OFFENSE...

Is a strong defense. The Bulldogs rank seventh in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just eight goals per game.

 

FOUR BULLDOGS NAMED ALL-IVY

Four Bulldogs earned 2013 All-Ivy League honors. Peter Johnson received his second-consecutive first-team honor on defense. Brandon Mangan and Michael McCormack were second-team selection, while Kirby Zdrill was honorable mention. 

 

IVY LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

All-American candidate Brandon Mangan was a two-time Ivy League Player of the Week this season. His first came after he led the Bulldogs with six points and four goals in the 7-6 overtime victory over No. 13 Penn. His second came two weeks later after scoring three goals and five points in the come-from-behind, 11-8 victory over Brown. In between Mangan's two awards, Colin Flaherty received Yale's third Ivy League player of the week award. The sophomore turned in a four-goal, six-point performance over a pair of Bulldog victories, and truly shined against Dartmouth, providing three fourth period scores to complete another Bulldog comeback.

 

ELI PRECEDENT

The Bulldogs, after opening Ivy League play 0-2, won four straight conference matchups to clinch the No. 2 spot in the Ivy League Tournament. The May 5 victory over Princeton made it two straight. Last season, the Bulldogs lost their first two Ivy League games, caught fire and won their next nine games en route to an Ivy League tournament title and their first NCAA tournament appearance in 20 years. In 2010, the Bulldogs lost their first two Ivy League games, before winning out and capturing a share of the Ivy League title.

 

SENIORS

The class of 2013, with 12 victories this season and 43 total, have become the fifth class in the 131-year history of Bulldog lacrosse to reach 40 wins.

 

CAPTAIN

D Michael McCormack (West Islip, NY.), an All-America candidate, caused 23 turnovers and scooped up 60 ground balls this season. McCormack is a 2013 second-team All-Ivy pick. Last spring, he led Eli defensemen with 55 ground balls and 34 caused turnovers. McCormack, the captain, was second-team All-Ivy League and first-team All-New England last season after averaging 2.16 caused turnovers per game, good for sixth nationally.

 

JOHNSON

Senior Peter Johnson (Minnetonka, MN), an All-America candidate, is a 2013 first-team All-Ivy League pick and is a finalist for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award. The award is given to Division I student-athletes who show notable achievement in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. Johnson is first on the team and 10th in the nation this season with 2.19 caused turnovers per game. A first-team All-Ivy and honorable mention All-American, he caused 1.81 turnovers (16th in D1) per game last season. Johnson has been selected as pre-season All-Ivy League and All-America by insidelacrosse.com.

 

LEVINGS

Junior Dylan Levings (Massapequa, NY.), an All-America candidate, was awarded MVP of the Ivy League tournament after winning 19 of 23 face-offs in the championship against Princeton, and taking 75% of face-offs overall. Levings won 17 of 19 face-offs against Providence and 22 of 25 against Cornell this season.  He ranks sixth in the nation in ground balls per game, with 7.93 and eighth in face-off percentage at .592. Levings, a huge factor behind Yale's 2012 success, won 62.9% of face-offs, and an even better (.701) in league games. Against Harvard last year, he won the first six face-offs and nine of the last 10, which earned him New England (NEILA) Player of the Week honors. He had 10 double-digit win outings last season and was ninth in ground balls (6.63) in Division I.

 

MANGAN

Junior Brandon Mangan (Wantagh, NY.), an All-America candidate, leads the Bulldogs in points (61), goals (36) and assists (25), and is 21st in Division 1 in points per game with 3.81. He is a 2013 second-team All-Ivy League pick who recorded his 100th career point against Stony Brook and was twice named Ivy League Player of the Week this season. Yale's active career goal leader, Mangan started 28 games over his first two years, earning Ivy Honor Roll twice last spring before catching fire in the postseason and tallying seven goals. His biggest goal came early in his career, Mangan drained a game winning overtime goal against Princeton his freshman year.

 

Mangan by Season
Year: (GP), G-A-Pts (Notes)
2011: (12), 11-6-17 (Game-winning goal versus Princeton)
2012: (16), 26-11-37 (Ivy Honor Roll Feb. 27, March 27)
2013: (16), 36-25-61 (2nd Team All-Ivy, Ivy POW March 30, April 12)

 

OBERBECK

Conrad Oberbeck, a sophomore from Greenwich, Conn., provided three goals and an assist in the 9-6 victory over Penn in the semifinals of the Ivy League tournament. Earlier in the year, he scored six goals, one short of the school's sophomore record set in 1958, against Albany. He is second on the team with 34 goals. Last season, he scored in 10 of the 16 games, and finished atop the Yale class of 2015 with 20 goals and 26 points. He received Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors on March 12 for his five goals in two games. Oberbeck, an attackman, played at Brunswick School before coming to New Haven.

 

ZDRILL

Kirby Zdrill, the fourth most efficient scorer in the nation connecting on 50 percent of his shots, was named Honorable-Mention All-Ivy this year. The Edmonton, Alberta native is third on the team in goals scored with 30.

 

NATALE

Goalie Eric Natale (Westminster, Md.) ranks eighth in the nation in goals-against average (7.93). The sophomore has made a career-high 12 saves three times this season, once in the 15-8 win over Albany, again in the 12-8 victory against Fairfield and again on the biggest stage in the semifinals 9-6 win over Penn.  Last season, he started three games and played five games overall. He made two saves in a 2012 start against St. John's and stopped six shots in a win over Albany.

 

YALE CONNECTIONS

Sophomore M James Tjarksen is the son of a former Yale football player, Michael Tjarksen '86 and Yale women's lacrosse captain and All-American Connie Ambler '88… Junior M Jackson Logie's dad, Scott Logie '85, played hockey at Yale… Freshman Jonathon Reese is the son of Jon Reese '90, the school's all-time leading lacrosse scorer and captain of the 1989 Football team.

 

3 ON WATCH LIST

Three Yale players have been named to the 2013 Tewaaraton Award Men's "Watch List." Brandon Mangan, Michael McCormack and Peter Johnson have all been included on the pre-season list for the top male lacrosse player in the U.S.

 

LOOKING BACK 2012

A season full of accomplishments, Yale had its…

- most (11) wins since 1992

- longest (9) win streak since 1990

- most (3) first-team All-Ivy picks since 1990

- first Ivy Tournament title

- third straight Ivy Tournament appearance

- third straight 10+ win season

 

MLL

Both Michael McCormack and Peter Johnson were selected in the seventh round of the 2013 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft. The Rochester Rattlers bit on McCormack at 51, the Charlotte Hounds barked at Johnson for the 52nd pick. Former Yale standout Matt Gibson '12 was named the 2012 MLL Cascade Rookie of the Year after leading all rookies with 33 points, including 18 goals. Taken with the 33rd pick of the 2012 draft, Gibson's strong performance helped lead the Long Island Lizards to the playoffs.

 

filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director

 

photo by Steve Manuel