This Sunday, the men’s lacrosse team showcased its skills in the only intersquad competition of its fall-ball preseason. In over 200 minutes of scrimmages at the Yale Fall Classic, the Bulldogs came away with four wins and one loss.

Yale defeated the University of Hartford, Villanova University, the University of Vermont and Harvard 7-4, 8-4, 7-4 and 9-3, respectively, before falling to Bucknell 7-6.

Midfielder Patrick Moylan ’03 attributed the Bulldogs’ success over the weekend to their physical fitness — leading up to the Classic, the team participated in captain’s practices that involved early morning running twice a week and weightlifting three times a week.

“This fall, we have worked harder than any other [fall I have been here for],” Moylan said. “We were more focused and in better shape. I’ve never seen the team this dedicated to doing well.”

The Classic — the nation’s largest preseason men’s lacrosse event — was Yale’s only opportunity to compete against other schools before the spring season. Ivy League rules allow Ancient Eight lacrosse teams just 12 official preseason practices, one of which may be against outside competition, head coach Mike Waldvogel said. Sixteen teams played in the round robin invitational.

Although the Bulldogs managed to defeat four of their five opponents, Waldvogel saw room for improvement.

“We have to improve our off-ball game,” Waldvogel said. “We’re lucky to have a group of guys that already knows the basics of our offense. Now we have to take the next step to refine our talents.”

The Bulldogs have eight returning seniors on the squad, including captain Tucker Foote ’02 and Brian Hunt ’02, an honorable mention USILA All-American and last season’s New England player of the year. Todd Merchak ’02 and Marko Lujic ’02 will help Foote anchor the first midfield line. The three players each have three years of varsity experience, and Lujic is a two-time All-Ivy selection.

Senior defensemen Nick Krohley ’02, Mike Rafalko ’02 and Will McClelland ’02 — all of whom wielded the long defenseman stick on the game field last year — round out Yale’s strongest men’s lacrosse class in recent memory.

“Our nucleus has been together for four years,” assistant coach Darryl Delia said. “Marko, Todd and Tucker are one of the best midfield lines out there.”

The sophomore and junior classes also boast a number of returning letter-winners. Attackmen Mike Scaglione ’03 and Ryan Floyd ’03 were second and fourth on the team in scoring last year with 29 and 27 points, respectively.

Moylan, Scott Kenworthy ’04 and Ned Britt ’04 all made significant contributions at midfield last season, while Noah Glass ’03 and Todd Montgomery ’04 return as standout defensemen.

The Bulldogs will set their hopes high for upcoming spring season.

“We’re very optimistic,” Waldvogel said. “Our first goal is to win the Ivies. Our second goal is to get back to the NCAA playoffs.”

To do that, the Bulldogs will have to go through Princeton, the defending national champions who have not lost to the Elis since 1990.

“We want to beat the pumpkin heads,” Waldvogel said.