The No. 6 Yale men’s lacrosse team dominated Princeton 16–8 on Saturday thanks to a near-perfect performance from midfielder Conor Mackie ’18 in the faceoff X and goals from nine different Bulldogs.
Still carrying the momentum from road wins over Fairfield and Cornell the previous two weekends, the Bulldogs (6–1–0, 2–0–0 Ivy) returned to Reese Stadium to host the Tigers (3–4–0, 0–2–0) continuing one of the oldest rivalries in college lacrosse. Despite playing one-goal games with the Tigers in seven of the past eight seasons, the Bulldogs cruised to an eight-goal victory over Princeton.
“Princeton is a great team, they always play us well,” Mackie said. “We always play them at a good point in the season. We’re coming off two weeks of spring break here where we’re able to kind of double down on our prep. So this is a game where we really hope to see a lot of things we’ve been working on in the beginning of the season come together. And that’s happened for us the last couple of years and now we’ve got to continue to bring that preparation forward.”
Yale opened the contest with an unanswered four-goal barrage that began just 36 seconds into the game with a tally from midfielder John Daniggelis ’19. The Elis extended their lead a minute later when attacker Jackson Morrill ’20 found attacker Brendan Rooney ’19 from behind the net, and Rooney fired the ball past Princeton goalie Tyler Blaisdell. Captain and attacker Ben Reeves ’18 joined the fun by notching the first of his three tallies of the day on a bounce shot.
Midfielder Jack Tigh ’19 added a fourth goal for the Bulldogs, but Princeton seemed to find its bearings and the scoreboard when first year Chris Brown scored unassisted with eight minutes left in the first quarter. Yale’s defense responded with its own offensive flair as defender Tyler Warner ’18 picked out fellow defender Robert Mooney ’19, who found the back of the net to put the Bulldogs up 5–1 just under nine minutes into the game.
Trailing 6–2 heading into the second quarter, the Tigers took advantage of a man-up opportunity early in the period and cut their deficit to three with a goal from sophomore midfielder Connor McCarthy. However, Princeton’s offensive opportunities were limited by the team’s inability to control faceoffs. Mackie, who was 20 for 24 in faceoff wins on the day, allowed Yale’s offense to effectively control the game, and the Elis outshot the Tigers 51–20 on the day.
“We’ve been relatively inconsistent in the faceoff X and a lot of it has to do with what guys are doing against Conor,” head coach Andy Shay said. “I give him a lot of credit. We challenged him this week, it wasn’t an easy week for him and he responded. He’s had a difficult season. He’s had some injuries, and I think it’s a positive step in the right direction for him. I’m happy with how he’s responded.”
Despite maintaining offensive control, the Elis faltered under pressure from the Princeton defense. Shay credited the Tigers’ defenders for always being in the right spot on the field and knowing where the other players were at any given moment. Yale’s lone second-quarter goal came when midfielder Joseph Sessa ’19 caught a pass from Daniggelis and swiftly fired a shot past Blaisdell. Princeton answered once again with a tally of its own, stalling the score at 7–4 as the teams entered their respective locker rooms for halftime.
After a lackluster second quarter, the Bulldogs emerged energized for the next 30 minutes of play. Attacker Matt Gaudet ’20, who saw limited playing time as a result of Rooney’s emergence, found Morrill for the first of a series of three quick goals to open up the third and the game before Tigh and midfielder Jason Alessi ’18 both strengthened the lead in the following minutes. Tigh mimicked Reeves with a goal from behind the back of the net to complete his hat trick and give the Bulldogs their biggest lead of the day so far.
In the fourth quarter, Reeves traded goals with Princeton captain and midfielder Austin Sims. Both veterans tallied two in the final frame while Yale rookie and midfielder Brian Tevlin ’21 recorded his first collegiate goal with just a minute remaining. With goals from nine different players, including hat tricks from Reeves, Rooney and Tigh, the Elis displayed one of their best showings of unselfish offense for the season.
“It’s great to have nine different players in the scorer’s box because it sheds light on the way we share the ball,” Tigh said. “[But] we need to continue having strong practices down the stretch and to continue playing with pace.”
To continue Ivy League play, the Bulldogs will host No. 16 Penn next Saturday at 1 p.m.
Jane Miller | firstname.lastname@example.org