The men’s lacrosse team will be on the road Saturday for a tough matchup against Ivy League opponent No. 11/13 Penn.
The Bulldogs (3-3, 0-2 Ivy) will look to rebound after two straight league losses to No. 3 Cornell and No. 8/10 Princeton. The matches were incredibly close, with the two games determined by a combined three goals. Team members said they expect the team to fare better in the Elis’ third Ivy meet of the season.
“We have had some tough losses but we were in a similar position last year,” John Radigan ’15 said. “We are a really close-knit unit and we know what we need to do from now on to have a good end to the season.”
Yale’s offense is ranked fourth in the Ivy League in both goals and points-per-game. Attackmen Brandon Mangan ’14, Conrad Oberbeck ’15 and Kirby Zdrill ’13 have started all six games and have been key offensive producers for the Bulldogs. Mangan, who ranks second in the Ivy League in points per game and is the team leader in assists, has 26 points thus far. Oberbeck, who leads the team with 17 goals, is second in the Ivy League in goals per game and has 19 points overall. Zdrill is having a stellar season posting 13 goals and 14 points.
Yale has also been helped by the stellar play of junior face-off specialist Dylan Levings ’14, who is ranked No. 1 in the Ivy League with a .624 percentage over the team’s six games and has contributed the Elis’ No. 4 face-off ranking in the nation.
Team members said they understand how important offensive possessions will be this weekend and will look to Levings to continue his performances.
“We need to limit turnovers and maximize possession time on the offensive side of the ball,” midfielder Colin Flaherty ’15 said. “That way we can keep the ball out of our defensive end and look for the best opportunities to score.”
Yale’s defense, returning four-year starters Michael McCormack ’13 and Peter Johnson ’13, has been key for the team this year. The two players are both on the Tewaaraton Award watch list for the best collegiate lacrosse player and have helped anchor a defense that ranks third in the Ivy League in goals against average. The team ranks last in the Ivy League in penalties per game, yet has been bailed out by stellar play of its man down unit who rank first in the conference in penalty killing with a .736 percentage.
“We just need to keep working on the process as our coach says,” David Better ’15 said. “We just need to tighten up a few details but I don’t think we need to drastically change anything.”
The Quakers will face-off against the Bulldogs looking to rebound from their weekend 10-5 loss to Cornell. Chances may be hard to come by due to Penn’s stingy defense. The Quakers rank second in the Ivy League in goals-against-average and caused-turnovers per game. Yale should also be wary of Penn’s man-up unit, which has the highest scoring percentage in the conference. The Quakers are led by attackman Tim Schwalje with 23 points on the season. Schwalje should be considered a duel threat as he ranks second in the Ivy League in shots per game while also leading Penn in assists on the year. Zach Losco leads the team in goals with 12 and has 13 points on the season. Penn will also look to avenge last year’s 10-9 loss to Yale at Reese Stadium.
“Every Ivy League game is really tough and we know every game is going to be tight and we’ll need to find a way to come out on top,” Flaherty said. “They have a really good defense and we need to create good opportunities off our defensive play and take advantage of our chances.”
Yale has won three of the last four meetings between the teams and leads the over-all series 47-27. The Bulldogs will square off against Penn at Franklin Field 1 p.m.