While the scrimmages the No. 18 Bulldogs played against Tufts and Quinnipiac this weekend were unscored, Yale’s performance showed promise as the team prepares to kick off its official season next Saturday.

Although no official statistics were kept, and the scoreboard itself showed only time, midfielder Dylan Levings ’14 said Yale outplayed both Division III Tufts and Quinnipiac. Yale’s offense moved the ball well and opened up scoring opportunities early and frequently against each opponent. The defense meanwhile effectively contained the other teams’ offenses and the Yale goalkeepers were rarely tested. Levings said the team was happy with its offensive and defensive development at this point in the season.

“We have Matt Gibson [’12], who looks good all the time, and Greg Mahoney [’12] who does too,” Levings said of the Bulldog’s top attackman and midfielder, respectively. “Our defense has been together for three years now, so they’re playing very well too.”

Both Gibson and Mahoney were recently named to the “Watch List” for the 2012 Tewaaraton Award, the honor handed out to the top lacrosse player in the country each year.

Gibson will head an attack unit that also features Brandon Mangan ’14, although Levings said the third spot is still up for grabs. Gibson was named first-team All-Ivy last season and finished second on the team in scoring with 20 goals and 36 points. Mangan started all 12 games last year as a freshman and finished the season with 11 goals.

While all three of Yale’s close defenders have started together for the past three seasons, the team has yet to decide who will fill the gap left by first-team All-New England goalkeeper Jonathan Falcone ’11. During Saturday’s game, Jack Meyer ’14, Peter Spaulding ’13 and Eric Natale ’15 all played in goal, though Meyer saw the most net time.

The Bulldogs open their season next Saturday at home against St. John’s. Levings said the team is looking forward to the matchup because the Bulldogs pulled in a narrow 10–8 victory last season.

“We faced them last year, and they played us tough,” the face-off specialist said. “We took a pretty big lead, and they battled back against us.”

Saturday’s game will mark the start of a tough season for the Bulldogs, as Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Cornell are also ranked among the top 20 teams in the country. Last year, the Elis were ranked as high as No. 14 in the country during the season and finished tied for third in the Ivy League, although they did not get a bid into the NCAA Tournament. This year, the team aims to get that bid.

“Coach [Andrew Shay] would say that we’re taking the season one day at a time and we go into every game thinking that we can win,” Levings said. “We always want to play as hard as we can and just let the chips fall where we may.”

The game is scheduled for Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Reese Stadium.