Courtesy of Rich Barnes
Despite an abrupt finish to the Yale men’s lacrosse team’s 2020 season, five Bulldogs earned notable post-season honors.
Four Elis — attackman Matt Gaudet ’20, defenseman Chris Fake ’21, face-off specialist TD Ierlan ’20 and attackman Jackson Morrill ’20 — sit on the Tewaaraton final watch list, while Inside Lacrosse named Gaudet, Fake, Ierlan and defenseman Aidan Hynes ’21 to All-American teams.
Having played just under one third of this year’s campaign, however, the Bulldogs do not place too much value on these distinctions, Fake told the News.
“It’s always nice for our guys to get recognized, but it’s never the goal,” Fake said. “All of us really only have one goal, and that’s to make it back to Memorial Day. And now that we don’t have the chance to do that this year, the accolades that we have accrued over four games really [don’t] mean too much. We are just looking forward to next year and praying that the Ivy League’s decision works out in our favor so that we can all have another shot at Memorial Day weekend next year.”
The Tewaaraton Foundation recognizes the most outstanding collegiate lacrosse player each year for both men and women, and recent Yale graduate Ben Reeves ’18 is among the list of former winners. The foundation cancelled this year’s award ceremony, which was scheduled for May 28 at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. No college awards will be presented in 2020, which would have been the honor’s 20th anniversary.
The Bulldogs, who began the season ranked No. 3 in the nation, quickly rose to No. 1 with major victories over No. 15 Villanova and then No. 1 Penn State. Although the season was cut short due to public health concerns about the novel coronavirus, the Elis shined when given the chance.
Ierlan again rose to the top of the national charts twice over the mere four games played. The senior passed former record holder Trevor Baptiste in career face-off wins with 1,159 total after going 25 for 27 against Michigan in the team’s last game of the season. Ierlan also set the all-time record with 762 career ground balls, further etching himself into the NCAA history books.
“It is always nice to receive recognition for our team’s achievements,” Ierlan said. “Truth be told, I thought we had some more guys that should have received the honors, but it was a weird year.”
Ierlan is one of four 2019 Tewaaraton finalists to return to this year’s final watchlist.
Although his captaincy was short lived, Morrill and the Elis put together a solid start to the season, falling to only No. 17 UMass. Last season, the Baltimore native led the Elis in total points, which included 46 goals. This year, he remained a consistent and talented attackman, registering seven goals and eight assists in four games.
“It’ll definitely be different in terms of play [without last year’s seniors],” Morrill said prior to the start of the season. “But we’ve done pretty well. In terms of the leadership, the whole senior class has stepped up.”
Gaudet, who earned both Tewaaraton Watch List and All-American honors, stood atop the Ivy League with an average of 4.5 goals per game, good enough for second in the nation. This was his second time earning both honors, the first coming in 2019. Last year, Gaudet led the team with 51 goals.
Fake made the Tewaaraton Watch List for the second straight year and collected his third consecutive All-American honor. He and Hynes both earned pre-season IL All-American honors and led the charge on defense for the Bulldogs. In 2019, Fake picked up 26 ground balls and caused 13 turnovers. Meanwhile, Hynes picked up 30 ground balls and caused 24 turnovers.
The Bulldogs never got the chance to shine under the lights at Reese Stadium, and ended the season ranked No. 6 in the nation.
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