Battle of Ranked Rivals Ends Regular Season
Senior Day at Reese Has Huge Implications
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – It has five straight wins, a berth in the Ivy League Tournament and a shot at five consecutive seasons with double-digit victories. The No.13 Yale men's lacrosse team (9-3, 3-2 Ivy) has accomplished a lot and has a lot on the line as No.16 Harvard (8-5, 4-1 Ivy) comes to New Haven to complete the regular season. Saturday is Senior Day for the Bulldogs with nine class of 2014 members suiting up at Reese for the last time in a 1:30 game that airs live on Fox College Sports TV (DirecTV 608, 623, 626).
The long-time lacrosse rivalry between the two schools dates back 132 years when the teams met for the first time at the Polo Grounds on Oct. 28, 1882. Harvard took the first game 2-0 to win the Oelrich Cup. However, Yale has garnered much success in the 94 contests, leading the series 59-35.
Yale held off a late Crimson offensive rush to take an 11-10 game last April at Boston. With 30 seconds left, Harvard trailed by one, won the last face-off and had the ball for the rest of the game. Yale goalie Eric Natale stopped Harvard's overtime hopes. Senior attackman Kirby Zdrill led the day with four goals, while Conrad Oberbeck and Brandon Mangan had two goals and one assist each. Shane Thornton, Mark Glicini, and Sean Shakespeare added tallies as well.
YALE BEATS QUINNIPIAC
Yale jumped out to a 7-1 lead and Quinnipiac roared back to within one in the third quarter. The Bulldogs got going again and put the game away in the fourth. The 14-11 win was Yale's fifth straight. Brandon Mangan scored three goals in the win, bumping him up to fourth place on Yale's career goal list with 95. In addition, Conrad Oberbeck scored three and had four points, while Jeff Cimbalista scored twice and assisted on two, marking his second consecutive game with four points. Dylan Levings won 18 of 29 face-offs to increase his season percentage to .592.
The Crimson, 4-2 in the Ivy, is tied for first place with Cornell. Harvard is 6-0 when playing at home but has not had the same success on the road with a 2-5 record. In the 9-8 victory against Princeton last Saturday, seven different players scored for the Crimson. Devin Dwyer and Carl Zimmerman each scored twice, while Sean Mahon, Will Walker, Peter Schwartz, Stephen Jahelka, and Brendan Newman had one each. The Crimson has three players with at least 30 points this season: Schwartz (20-19-39), Dwyer (10-24-34), and Walker (31-3-34).
The Elis, who has played in every post-season league championship event and won the last two, trail Harvard (4-1), Cornell (4-1) and Penn (4-2) heading into Saturday. Yale (3-2) clinched a post-season berth with last weekend's league results. The regular-season champion hosts the May 2-4 tournament.
Harvard will host the tournament if it beats Yale. If Yale beats Harvard, Cornell hosts regardless of its outcome with Princeton. Cornell wins in a four-way tiebreaker at 4-2 because it was 2-1 against the group and beat Penn. The Quakers were also 2-1 against the group.
If Harvard and Cornell win, the Crimson is the No. 1 seed. Cornell would be No. 2, Penn No. 3 and Yale No. 4. (Harvard beat Cornell earlier this season.)
If Cornell and Yale win, Cornell is the top seed. Penn, Yale and Harvard would follow. (Penn beat Yale and Harvard earlier this season. Yale would then have a win over Harvard.)
If Cornell and Harvard both lose, creating a four-way tie at 4-2, Cornell is No. 1 (by virtue of a 2-1 mark against the group and a win over Penn). Penn, Yale and Harvard follow.
School and Possible Seeding:
Cornell can be 1 or 2
Harvard can be 1 or 4
Penn can be 2 or 3
Yale can be 3 or 4
One of the two strongest conferences in the country, the Ivy League boasts five (Yale, Penn, Cornell, Princeton, Harvard) teams in this week's USILA rankings.
Yale is 6-1 out of the Ivy League this season and the competition has been pretty tough. Four of the seven teams, which combined for a 39-17 overall mark this season, have .500 or better records, while three of them are in the USILA rankings.
Defenseman Jimmy Craft (Darien, Conn.), voted captain by his teammates last spring, has a wealth of big-game experience. Craft follows an impressive line of team leaders and former teammates as captain of the Bulldogs: D Patrick Coleman '11, M Michael Pratt '12 and D Michael McCormack '13. Craft has two goals this season, including a shot from his own restraining line that sailed all the way in the air against Lehigh that was No. 8 on ESPN's Top 10 plays that night. Craft ranks 6th in the Ivy League causing 1.27 turnovers per game; and is second on the Yale squad with 36 groundballs and 17 caused turnovers. Craft ranked third on the team in ground balls (39) and caused turnovers (17) last season. He scored his only goal last season in the victory against Princeton in the Ivy Tournament Championship Game.
Senior Dylan Levings (Massapequa, N.Y.) is one of the premier face-off specialists in the country and the latest in an impressive line of X-men wearing Yale blue. Levings has a .592 win percentage this season ranking him first in the Ivy League and 16th in Division I. He leads the Yale squad with 92 ground balls and has scored a goal in three games (Princeton, Cornell, Lehigh). He is a two-time honorable mention USILA All-American trying to become Yale's first three-time selection since Jon Reese '90. Levings is a 2014 pre-season, third-team All-America pick by insidelacrosse.com. Levings had 355 face-offs in 2013 and ranked seventh in Division I with both a .597 win percentage and his ground ball average. A huge factor behind Yale's success, Levings was even better (.750) during Ivy Tournament play.
Senior attackman Brandon Mangan (Wantagh, NY.) is second on the team with 39 points and first with 20 assists. Mangan notched a career-high 5-2-7 vs. Princeton on March 22. He is a 2014 insidelacrosse.com pre-season All-American (3rd team). In 2013 he was an honorable mention USILA All-American, Tewaaraton Trophy Candidate, second-team All-Ivy selection and first-team All-New England choice in 2013. Yale's active career goals leader with 95 (Tied 4th at Yale), is tied for 6th on the school list with 157 points. Mangan led the 2013 team with 39 goals (4th at Yale) and 64 points (3rd), both records for a junior at Yale. He was the 2013 recipient of the Walter T. Collins Award as Yale's offensive MVP.
"I've been saying it for weeks now; we haven't played a full 60-minute game yet. We have spurts that we look like one of the best teams in the country, and then a couple minutes where it's like what's going on. So I think if we just play well for 60 minutes, play together as a team, I think we'll put up a good fight against Harvard on Saturday."
Yale Career Points
Jon Reese 200 (162-38), 1987-90
Adam Puritz 183 (106-67), 1985-88
Mike Devlin 183 (94-89), 1979-82
Matt Gibson 172 (94-78), 2009-12
Ted Moran 166 (84-82), 1983-86
Brandon Mangan 157 (95-62), 2011-Present
Yale Career Goals
Jon Reese 162, 1987-90
Adam Puritz 106, 1985-88
Tom Zaccagnino 100, 1994-96
Brandon Mangan 95, 2011- Present
Brendan Gibson 95, 2007-10
Mike Scaglione 95, 2000-03
Junior attackman Conrad Oberbeck (Greenwich, Conn.) leads the team in goals (32) and points (43) and is on the 2014 Tewaaraton Award Watch List. He currently places 12th at Yale with 88 career goals and 21st with 115 career points. Oberbeck has scored a goal every game this season, including five hat tricks and a four-goal afternoon in the OT loss at Fairfield. In addition, Oberbeck scored six goals and recorded two assists in the 13-7 win at Michigan, earning him Co-Player of the Week from the Ivy League in week 10. Oberbeck has recorded at least five points in four games this season (Fairfield, Princeton, Providence, and Michigan). He has scored 51 goals since April 2, 2013; the start of his 22-game goal streak. He was a second-team All-New England pick and an Ivy League All-Tournament team selection in 2013, while being second on the team with 36 goals and a sophomore record 44 points.
"Harvard is a really skilled team with a lot of great individuals. There's a lot on the line, and we really want to finish the season strong for our seniors. It's the last regular season game for them and the last one at Reese, so we really want to play our best."
Sophomore defenseman Michael Quinn (Port Washington, NY.), a pre-season honorable mention All-America pick and first-team All-New England pick, was also placed on the mid-season All-American first team list by inside lacrosse. Quinn has been a key component of the Bulldog defense since joining the team last season. Quinn (15 CT, 26 GB), has helped lead a Bulldog defense which ranks No. 1 in the Ivy League in scoring defense and clearing percentage, No.2 in the Ivy League in man-down defense and No.3 in caused turnovers per game. In addition, Quinn ranks third in the Ivy League causing 1.50 turnovers per game. Quinn had his first goal of the season against Lehigh. In 2013, Quinn played in all 17 games, causing 14 turnovers, grabbing 27 ground balls and scoring three goals.
Junior goalie Eric Natale (Westminster, Md.) has started each game this season and leads the Ivy League (7th in the nation) in goals-against average (7.85). His 278 saves rank him 13th on Yale's career saves list. Natale made a game clinching save on Princeton's Kip Orban with seconds left to seal the March 22 win. Natale has recorded double-digit save figures in nine games this season including a season-high 15 against Providence College. He started all 17 games last season, recording double-digit saves in 10 games. Natale ranked No. 7 in Division I in goals against average (7.88) and was named to the Ivy League All-Tournament team.
Junior midfield Shane Thornton has played a vital role thus far for the Bulldogs, posting seven goals and 12 assists on the season. During the five-game win streak (Providence, Dartmouth, Brown, Michigan, and Quinnipiac) Thornton has notched nine points to help boost the Bulldog offense. He also has a pair of four-point games this season: (2-2-4) at Fairfield and (3-1-4) at Dartmouth.
Freshman attackman Jeff Cimbalista scored 10 points in the past four games, including back-to-back four-point outings against Michigan (4-0-4) and Quinnipiac (2-2-4). His performance at Michigan earned him a spot on the week 10 Ivy League Honor Roll. Cimbalista's 10 goals on the year have come from only 14 shots, posting a team-high 71.4 shooting percentage.
THREE ON WATCH LIST
Three Yale players have been named to the 2014 Tewaaraton Award Men's "Watch List." Brandon Mangan, Dylan Levings, and Conrad Oberbeck are on the list for the top male lacrosse player in the U.S.
Yale was 2013 NEILA champions. The eight New England head coaches vote each week to come up with the following rankings.
7. Sacred Heart
Dylan Levings and Brandon Mangan were both selected in the 2014 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft. Levings was taken in the third round (24th overall) by the Chesapeake Bayhawks while Mangan was selected in the fifth round (34th overall) by the New York Lizards. In the 2013 Collegiate Draft, Michael McCormack and Peter Johnson were selected in the seventh round with overall picks 51 and 52.
ANDY SHAY, YALE'S RYAN & FORST FAMILY HEAD COACH
Andy Shay, who in 2013 finished his 10th season of his first collegiate head coaching job, has engineered a 52-21 mark over the last five seasons and has four consecutive 10-plus win seasons. He also directed the Bulldogs to four straight Ivy League Tournament appearances, two-consecutive Ivy Tournament Titles, a 2010 regular-season Ivy League Championship and two-straight (school record) NCAA appearances, including Yale's first in 20 years. His position was endowed after the 2012 season and he is now the Ryan & Forst Family Head Coach. The Bulldogs' 2010 season marked the first post-season appearance since 1992 and the first Ivy championship since 1990. Shay's squad was ranked as high as No. 9 at one point during that campaign. Shay, whose defenses have been ranked in the nation's top 10 the last three seasons including 2013, coached his 10th consecutive top 10 ranked face-off unit. Shay (87-66 overall), named Yale head coach on June 25, 2003, helped guide the University of Massachusetts to the 2002 and 2003 NCAA quarterfinals as an assistant coach for four years under Greg Cannella. During his tenure, the Minutemen won two ECAC championships and three New England titles. UMass posted an impressive 37-9 overall record in his last three seasons.
Forty-one Bulldogs come from 10 different states. A dozen players represent New York, nine from Connecticut, four each from Massachusetts and New Jersey, three each from California, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, and one each from New Hampshire, Texas and Wisconsin.
There are nine seniors on the Yale roster including three defensemen, three midfielders and one each at attack, in goal and on the face-off. The class of 2014 has experienced 42 victories and consecutive Ivy League Tournament titles and NCAA Tournament appearances. The most wins by a Yale lacrosse class is 46 by the 1991 and 1992 groups.
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.
Here are the names that might be challenging to pronounce.
No. Name: Pronunciation
20 Michael Bonacci: bo-notch-ee
26 Alirio DeMeireles: ah-lerio da-meer-les
16 Mark Glicini: gle-SEE-nee
30 Harry Kucharczyk: ka-char-ZICK
34 Jackson Logie: low-gee
22 Brandon Mangan: MAN-gan
37 Eric Natale: nuh-TAL-ee
1 Reilly Naton: nay-tin
17 Alex Otero: OH-tear-o
38 James Tjarksen: JARK-son
Filed by Steve Conn and Robert Klemens, Yale Sports Publicity