Courtesy of the Yale Daily News

The No. 13 Yale men’s lacrosse team (1–1, 0–0 Ivy) will return home on Saturday to face off against the University of Massachusetts (1–2, 0–0 CAA) at Reese Stadium. The Bulldogs will hope to shake off their upset defeat against Penn State last weekend and get back in the win column.  

The Bulldogs’ loss saw them drop down the rankings from No. 6 to No. 13 in the most recent Inside Lacrosse poll. The loss also saw Yale lose its standing as the highest ranked Ivy League team, as Cornell jumped ahead into No. 11.

UMass is also coming off of a tough loss of their own, a 16–7 shelling by Boston University. The game was the lowest scoring output of the season for the Minutemen, who scored 13 against now No. 12 Army and 19 goals against the University of Massachusetts, Lowell in their first two games of the season.

While UMass will look to get back their scoring touch, the Bulldogs’ answer will certainly lie with goaltender Jared Paquette ’24. 

At the beginning of the season there were many questions about who would start in net for the Bulldogs before head coach Andy Shay named Paquette the starter over Jack Starr ’22 for the first game of the season against Villanova.

“We thought going in that it was between Jack and Jared, and Jared had played better to that point,” Shay said to Inside Lacrosse. “We have a ton of loyalty to Jack. He’s been around a long time, he’s won us a lot of games and we looked at it like ‘We have to treat everybody the same,’ and we went with the guy who had a better week of practice.”

For his part, Paquette has proven that he was the correct choice by Shay and his coaching staff. The sophomore goaltender was one of the few bright spots against Penn State, as he made 16 saves on 26 shots on goal. 

Prior to defeating the Bulldogs, Penn State was struggling and had only one win on the season, but the team stayed focused and was able to beat the highly-ranked Elis. 

Perhaps the Bulldogs need to take notice and follow that example to get back to the winning ways they have become so accustomed to.

“We have faith in our guys and our coaching staff and our gameplan,” Penn State attackman Jeb Brenfleck said to the Daily Collegian. “So we just gotta stick to that and keep working hard.”

Much of the work for the Bulldogs will need to come on the offensive end, as the Bulldogs struggled last weekend to put the ball in the net. The defense, along with Paquette, gave the team a good chance to win by allowing only ten goals in the game, but the Bulldogs could only muster six of their own. 

Both the Yale and UMass defensemen will know where they need to focus in the game, as each team will be facing a midfielder coming off of a hattrick. 

For the Bulldogs, Will Cabrera ’23 scored half of the team’s six goals against Penn State and will likely have to deal with added pressure from the UMass defense.

On the other side of the field, Grant Breyo paced the UMass offense with a hattrick of his own, continuing his streak of scoring in every game this season.

“[Breyo] has been steady,” UMass head coach Greg Cannella said to The Massachusetts Daily Collegian. “He is steady. He comes to work every day and cares about it. Sometimes when you are a midfielder, and you get those opportunities … it’s a good day.”

The Bulldogs will hope to avoid a repeat of their last meeting against UMass, a massive upset that saw an unranked UMass team defeat the then No. 1 Bulldogs 13–10.

The Bulldogs will face off against UMass at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday at Reese Stadium.

SPENCER KING