Courtesy of Yale Athletics

The Blue and White (2–1–0, 0–0–0 Ivy) will face No. 20 University of Denver (3–3–0, 0–0–0 Big East) at Peter Baron Lacrosse Stadium at 1 p.m. Sunday in Denver, Colorado for their last nonconference game before Ivy play begins next week. 

After pulling out a win in a thrilling overtime game against the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where the Elis won 13–12 on a last second tally by attackman Matt Brandau ’23, Yale is ready to strike again in its second away game of the season. 

“We’ve talked for two years now on our identity of being a team that could come back from behind and get a win,” head coach Andy Shay told Yale Athletics. “Against Penn State [I] didn’t feel them; today I did.”

The last time the Bulldogs faced the Pioneers was on April 16, 2005, where Yale won in a 10–9 overtime game in its then Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium in New Haven. Attacker Seth Goldberg ’05 scored the game-winning “golden goal,” in addition to three others over the course of the game. 

The Elis were ranked No. 18 at the time, while Denver was No. 15, and the Bulldogs improved their season to 7–2. 

“Denver is a great team and always very well coached,” Brandau said. “This trip will be a great test for us.”

Their matchup in 2005 was the only time the two teams have played. 

Despite this, Yale and Denver’s lacrosse teams are interconnected — last year, attackman Jackson Morrill ’20, midfielder Lucas Cotler ’20 and transfer faceoff specialist TD Ierlan ’21 all played as Pioneers after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled all Yale sporting events.

This season, Denver has won three and lost three games. The Pioneers conquered Utah (3–1–0, 0–0–0 RMLC), Air Force  (2–4–0, 0–0–0 ASUN) and Canisius  (1–6–0, 0–0–0 MAAC), falling to Duke  (7–2–0, 0–0–0 ACC), Jacksonville  (5–2–0, 0–0–0 SOCON) and North Carolina  (5–1–0, 0–0–0 ACC) —  10–19, 9–11 and 16–17, respectively. 

“It’s going to be a tough contest [against Yale],” head coach Bill Tierney told Denver Athletics. “They’re so well coached. They’re so tough, and they’re just gonna come at you.”

In its most recent game against North Carolina, Denver came from a six-goal deficit to take the lead in the fourth quarter, before the Tarheels scored the game’s final three goals to earn them the 17–16 win. Attackman JJ Silltrop led the team with six points, three goals and three assists, and midfielder Alex Simmons netted his seventh career hat trick for the Pioneers. 

Midfielder Jack Hannah also had three goals in the third quarter to complete his 14th hat trick of his career. Faceoff specialist Alec Stathakis also finished 20 of 35 at the stripe and picked up six ground balls. 

“We’re just excited about the opportunity,” Tierney said. “They lent us a few players last year, so other than the rivalry last Sunday [these] are two groups that really respect each other.”

Despite Denver’s high scoring games this season, such as its 20–9 win over Canisius on Feb. 27, the Bulldogs are ready to pick up their third win of the season and set the tone for Ivy play next week. 

“We’re really excited to get the chance to challenge ourselves before starting Ivy league play next week,” Brandau said.

The Elis will face No. 9 Cornell on Saturday, March 19 in Ithaca, New York. 

Amelia Lower covers football, men's ice hockey and men's lacrosse. She is a senior in Jonathan Edwards College from Rye, New York, double-majoring in Spanish and the History of Science, Medicine and Public Health.