Courtesy of the Yale Daily News

The No. 4 Yale men’s lacrosse team (12–4, 4–2 Ivy) finished its regular season strong with 10 wins and squared off against some of the best teams in the country.

The Ivy League proved to be one of the most competitive leagues in the nation this season, as six out of the conferences seven teams qualified for the NCAA tournament. The league was so tight that qualifying for the Ivy League Tournament came down to the final game of the season against Harvard

“The Ivy League is so competitive this year,” attackman Matt Brandau ’23 said. “[It] only adds to the excitement every week.”

Yale prevailed against Harvard 17–16 in an overtime thriller on April 30, punching the team’s ticket to the Ivy League Tournament. The Bulldogs then won in the Ivy League semifinal on May 6 against Cornell 14–11, before losing two days later in the Ivy League Championship to Penn by a score of 16–9. 

The Bulldogs then entered the NCAA tournament as the No. 4 seed and downed Saint Joseph’s 18–16. 

All season the Bulldogs have relied on a mix of experience and youth. Stars in the squad have lived up to their expectations and an injection of youth has stepped up into big roles. 

“We had five guys out there that are technically first years in the first couple rotations,” head coach Andy Shay said. “At this point it’s immaterial … they’re Yale lacrosse players so we expect them to make the right play, and they end up doing it.”

Leading the charge for the young guns on the team has been attackman Leo Johnson ’25, who has shined all season long and is second on the team in goals, assists, and total points. 

Another first year, Chris Lyons ’25, has emerged in a big role as the third starting attackman for the Bulldogs and stands third on the team in points.

Brandau, the third part of that attack group, has been the star of the season for the Bulldogs. The junior from Timonium, Maryland, has fueled the Bulldogs’ offense all year, providing timely moments of brilliance on the field when the team needed it. He is also second in the country in both points per game and goals per game with 6.06 and 3.50 respectively. 

Since the start of the season it has been clear that the Bulldogs bring a unique blend of experience and youth to the field, and the way the two have meshed has been largely responsible for the team’s success this season. 

Team captain Brian Tevlin ’22 in action against Penn State (Photo: Rich Barnes)

“Our upperclassmen have worked so diligently throughout that uncertainty, and their commitment to this program has definitely inspired us younger guys to emulate and maintain the standard they set,” first-year goalie Cam Coyle ’25 said. “Every single one of them embodies leadership, and every one has persevered through agonizing times to get here. The brotherhood and accountability on this team is rare in sports. Practices and lifts are full of energy.”

The senior leadership on the team has set an example for the young players. Captain Brian Tevlin ’22 has led the team while playing both offensive and defensive midfield. Lockdown defenseman Chris Fake ’22 has brought a physical edge to any game the Bulldogs play in. 

The challenge for the team that lies ahead is a rematch with the No. 5 seeded Princeton Tigers, who the Bulldogs defeated 14–12 on March 26

In that game, the Bulldogs had standout performances from Brandau, who posted eight points, and goalie Jared Paquette ’24, who stymied the Princeton offense with 19 saves. 

However, the Bulldogs are much different from the team they were in March, and will hope that the added experience they have gained throughout the season will help them advance to the NCAA Lacrosse semifinals.

The Bulldogs and Tigers will square off on May 21 at 2:30 p.m. in Hempstead, New York and the game will be aired live on ESPNU.

SPENCER KING