Courtesy of Yale Athletics

With its regular season set to start in two weeks, the men’s lacrosse team has a lot to look forward to. 

In the preseason media poll, Inside Lacrosse put the Bulldogs at seventh nationally, and the Bulldogs tabbed No. 1 in the Ivy League preseason poll for the fifth time since 2017. Not having had a full season since its second place finish nationally in 2019, the team hopes to return to the field and stake its bid on the 2022 national title. 

This Saturday, the Elis will square up against Hobart University and Fairfield University in scrimmages to prepare for their home opener against Villanova University on Feb. 19. With 14 first years and 20 sophomores on the 51-man squad, there will be a lot of new talent on display.

“I’m excited for the chance to put on the jersey again — it’s been a couple years since we’ve been able to play a different team in a game, and I can’t wait to get to do it,” attackman Matt Brandau ’23 said.

Head coach Andy Shay also mentioned that he was “excited to have the opportunity” to get back onto the field.

For some first years, this is the first time they have played in a real game in two years, and they are ecstatic to be on the field again. 

“I couldn’t be more excited to suit up for the start of the season with this group of guys. Some of us haven’t played a real game of lacrosse since our spring 2020 season. We’re all itching to get after it against some new faces,” Kevin Kuttin ’25 said.

The team is expected to be a serious contender this year. Despite the lack of competition in 2021, Yale’s pursuit of new talent and development of existing talent continued. The Bulldogs welcomed seven Under Armour All-America first years to the team this fall. Expected standouts Chris Fake ’22 and Brandau also earned Inside Lacrosse Preseason Media All-American honors. 

“Preseason awards are nice, but that stuff really doesn’t matter to me or anyone on the team,” Brandau said. “We are focusing on the season and taking it one day at a time.”

Yale’s lacrosse program is known for having a no nonsense attitude, and that has led to the winning culture the team has built over the years. Since 2010, under Shay, the Elis have stayed above 0.500. During that time, the Bulldogs won or shared three Ivy League regular season titles, including two outright. They have also participated in every Ivy League tournament since its inception in 2010, winning five of them. 

Though it is difficult to retain a program’s culture and intensity amid a pandemic, the seniors have excelled at leading the team to keep strong the winning mindset of the 2018 national championship team

“The older members of the team have done a great job working with the younger members to incorporate and instill the program’s culture, and the hope is that everyone will be able to see that on Saturday [against Hobart and Fairfield],” Brandau said. 

With their eyes set on another national championship this season, the Bulldogs will kick off their preseason scrimmages against the Herons and the Stags this Saturday, Feb. 5 at Reese Stadium.