November 14, 2008

Bulldogs Host Princeton On Senior Day

Nov. 14, 2008

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The 2008 Yale season comes to an end on Saturday when Princeton visits Reese Stadium on Senior Day. Kickoff is slated for 4 p.m. and live stats of the game will be available from GameTracker. In addition, there will be free audio from wybc.com. Seniors Alex Afsahi, Tyler Guse, Markus Jackson, Liam Leonard, Frank Piasta, Sam Post, Max Rhodes and captain Alex Guzinski will be honored prior to the start.

"The experiences of this senior class have run the gamut from the exhiliration of winning the Ivy championship as freshmen to dealing with devastating injuries and adversity," said Yale head coach Brian Tompkins. "They have evolved into a wonderful group of leaders who have imprinted the squad with their maturity, spirit and character and they will be greatly missed."

Afsahi has been a valuable contributor for the Bulldogs, providing the team with outstanding leadership this season. He made his first career start as a junior against Fairfield, despite being limited to nine games because of injury. In his sophomore year, he was the recipient of the Frank Dunne Award, presented to the player who in the judgment of the coaches exhibited the greatest improvement during the season. His first career goal was the game-winner in Yale's 1-0 victory over Albany in 2006.

Guse has been one of the team's most dynamic players when healthy. This season he has appeared in seven games and supplied the team with a spark at midfield. As a junior, he tied for second on the team in goals and was named a second team Academic All-District Selection. In his sophomore year, he appeared in all 17 games, including making 12 starts. As a rookie, he made an immediate impact, starting 15 games and earning honorable mention All-Ivy recognition. He scored his first career goal against Providence.

Jackson has been a mainstay on Yale's defense since the day he arrived in New Haven. In his four years he has started 53 games, including 15 this year as a senior. As a junior he helped anchor a Yale defense that posted five shutouts. In his sophomore year he started 15 games and tallied an assist in Yale's 3-1 victory over Fairfield. In his rookie year, he appeared in all 18 games and was part of a defense that yielded only 16 goals. His first career point was an assist in a victory over Rhode Island.

Leonard is currently second on the team in points with eight. He scored both Yale goals in a 2-0 victory over Quinnipiac and added a pair of assists in the win over Stony Brook. As a junior he started a career-high 15 games and was named to the all-tournament team at the Yale Classic after scoring against nationally ranked Northwestern. In his sophomore year, he played in 16 games, and as a freshman, he finished third on the team in goals and fourth in points. In addition, he was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week after scoring the game-winning goal against Brown.

Piasta has emerged as one of Yale's top defenders. This season he has started 13 games and helped lead a defense that has yielded only 15 goals. His first career goal was the game-winner in Yale's victory over Cornell in October. In his junior year, he was the recipient of the Frank Dunne Award as Yale's Most Improved Player after starting all 17 games. His first career appearance came against Creighton in 2006.

Post joined the team this year and has made an immediate and significant contribution. He has appeared in nine games and made the first start of his career against Army. His first career goal came in last Saturday's win over Brown, and he also had an assist in the victory over Columbia.

Rhodes has appeared in 52 career games, including making 39 starts. This season, he tallied an assist in the season-opening 2-0 victory over Maine and has been a mainstay on the Yale defense. As a junior, he was one of only three players to start all 17 games and notched assists against Central Connecticut and Columbia. In his sophomore season, he assisted on the only goal in the Bulldogs' 1-0 victory over Brown, and as a rookie he made his first career start against American in the Yale Classic.

Guzinski, the team captain, has started 62 games in his outstanding career. This season, he is one of only three players to start all 16 games. He scored one of the prettiest goals of the season on a header off a corner kick against Boston College and also has assists in victories over Maine and Stony Brook. As a junior, he was named second team All-Ivy and received the Walter McNerney Trophy as Yale's Most Valuable Player. As a freshman, he started 17 games, the most of any freshman. His first career goal came against Fairfield. He also had assists on the game-winning goal against Brown and in the NCAA College Cup game with Stony Brook.

Princeton (5-9-2, 2-2-2 Ivy) has posted shutouts in four of its last five games. Brandon Busch leads the Tigers in goals (5) and points (13). Antoine Hoppenot and Josh Walburn each have three goals. Joe Walter has seen a majority of the action in goal and has a 0.87 goals against average.

"Princeton has been playing well lately and their pace and quickness will provide quite a challenge for us," Tompkins said. "We had a good result last weekend but will need to be especially sharp to prevail on Saturday."

Yale has won its last four meetings with Princeton, including a 2-0 victory last year in New Jersey.

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Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity