Courtesy of David Schamis

The 10th-ranked Yale men’s lacrosse team (1–0, 0–0 Ivy) defeated the Villanova Wildcats (0–2, 0–0 Big East) by a score of 13–11 on Saturday to begin their 2024 season.

After finishing last season with a 9–6 record and falling to Georgetown in the NCAA Tournament, the Bulldogs come into the new season with high hopes. That is not to say that meeting those hopes will be easy, as the Ivy League is shaping up to be one of the most competitive conferences in the nation this season, with three teams currently ranked in the top 15.

The starting lineup for the Bulldogs as they took the field for their first game of the season was not one many would have expected. Star attackmen and last year’s two leading goalscorers Chris Lyons ’25 and Leo Johnson ’25 were both out with injuries, leaving questions about where the Elis would find offense. 

The answer it turned out to be, was the same answer it has been for the Bulldogs for the past two seasons: leading man Matt Brandau ’24. 

Brandau, who along with Lyons, was named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List for the best player in college lacrosse, opened his season with two goals and four assists to push the Bulldogs past the Wildcats. 

However, late in the game with the score tied at 11, the hero proved to be one of the players filling in for Lyons and Johnson. 

Carson Kuhl ’25, who is listed on the roster as a midfielder but played attack all day for the Bulldogs, scored the final two goals of the game to secure an opening-day win for Yale. The two late-game goals joined his first-quarter tally to give Kuhl the hattrick on a day the Bulldogs needed to find offense.

Kuhl was joined on attack by David Anderson ’27, who introduced himself to the Yale fans with a hattrick of his own in his first collegiate start. 

The defense also played well for the Bulldogs, limiting the Villanova offense to only 22 shots on goal, 11 of which were saved by goalie Jared Paquette ’25.

Leading the defense was Patrick Pisano ’26, who in his first collegiate start wreaked havoc on the Villanova offense all afternoon. Pisano forced four turnovers and scooped up five ground balls, earning him the title of Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week

Despite the win, the Bulldogs will have a big second week of the season ahead, with matchups against two Top-20 teams in the nation.

On Wednesday the Bulldogs will travel to Albany to take on No. 20 Colgate before then heading to Pennsylvania to play No. 13 Penn State.

Spencer King is an Editor for the Sports desk. He has covered the Yale football and women's ice hockey teams. He has also previously covered the Yale men's lacrosse team and most things Bulldogs sports. Spencer is a junior in Davenport College and is majoring in Political Science.