Men’s lacrosse attackman Brandon Mangan ’14 has had a strong season for the Bulldogs thus far, ranking first on the team with 30 goals and 22 assists. The Wantagh, N.Y., native ranks second in the Ivy League and seventh in the nation in points per game and, as the Elis’ top threat on offense, has started every game over the past two seasons for the Bulldogs. The News sat down with Mangan to discuss his lacrosse experiences, the team’s success and the legacy he hopes to leave.
Q:What started your interest in lacrosse and why attack?
A:When my brother started playing lacrosse, I was just playing t-ball and that wasn’t really for me. I was the mascot for his team — he is four years older than me — so I started playing lacrosse in second grade. Ever since then I fell in love. My brother was a defenseman so growing up we played a lot of one-on-ones, and I guess that naturally made me into an attackman.
Q: You have had quite the productive season so far. You are three points away from breaking into Yale’s all-time career record for points and your 52 points put you 14th for a single season on Yale’s records, and you still have games left? What is it like knowing that you are already part of Yale’s records and have an additional season of lacrosse to go in your career?
A:Honestly I didn’t know that, but it’s pretty cool. … Yale has a really rich 130-year history of college lacrosse, and it’s impressive to even be mentioned in the same sentence as Matt Gibson ’12 or John Reese ’90 who have provided so much to this program. It’s really amazing but those records are not on the top of my list. I just want to win an Ivy League Tournament this year, make it to the NCAA’s and make it to the final four. Individual accolades don’t really matter to me — everything on my mind is team oriented.
Q: Quint Kessenich on Inside Lacrosse put you as one of his top-12 players under the radar and you rank second only to highly-touted Cornell attackman Rob Panell in points per game in the Ivy League. Is it somewhat justifying for you that people are starting to recognize your exploits on the field?
A: It’s cool but I haven’t ever been that recognized. … I am trying to make a name for myself, but the only thing that matters to me are the four letters on the front of the jersey. This year’s senior class has really instilled that in us and it’s something I have definitely taken to heart.
Q: You talked about the team and the amazing team spirit. Is there anything that sets this team apart from other Yale teams you have played on?
A: I think we feed off of those past teams. We are trying to prove to the alumni that we will continue their legacy and keep the program. This year’s senior class took an under .500 program and they have done a heck of a job of keeping this thing rolling, becoming the winningest class in Yale lacrosse history. Every team wants to help Yale Lacrosse be recognized as a perennially top program.
Q: You’re a political science major and last year were on Ivy Honor role twice. How have you managed D-I athletics and the academic demands of an Ivy League school?
A: It’s very difficult. I put in three to four hours a day on lacrosse between watching film and getting treatment. It is really hard to balance your time well and it really presses you to make the right choices. … You have to maintain your focus on the practice or game field and not worry about tests or papers and also figure out how to get your work done once lacrosse is over with.
Q: Does the No. 22 jersey mean anything special to you?
A: Yes, it is an extremely special number. In my old high school, Wantagh High, during the 1999 season Scott DeVerna, an amazing athlete, lacrosse player and human being, passed away in his sleep and his number was 22 on the team. So each year, a senior is elected to wear the number. … In our town it’s very important to wear No. 22. We have all tried to continue to wear that number as we continue our careers in college lacrosse. There have been over 40 players who have worn that number in college for the purpose of honoring him. My brother wore the number in college, another friend at Rutgers is wearing it right now, as well as Hofstra, and it’s really important to our town and to everyone that knew him that we continue to wear his number with pride.
Q: What are you looking to do better approaching the final games of the season and knowing you will probably have to win the Ivy League Tournament to go to the NCAA’s?
A: It’s very important for us to play through the whole 60 minutes of the game and take every minute by itself. I don’t think we have played our best lacrosse yet. I don’t think our offense and defense have played together well enough. I think we really need to play our best against Harvard so that we can get some momentum for the Ivy Tournament.