When attacker Ben Reeves ’18 went down in the second quarter of the season opener, the Yale men’s lacrosse team’s season flashed before its eyes. However, after missing the next game, a 12–11 loss to No. 8 Maryland, Reeves has returned and helped position the No. 17 Bulldogs to make a run at their fifth Ivy League Tournament title in the last six years.
Reeves left no doubts in Yale’s last two contests that he is healthy. On March 24, Reeves put up eight points on four goals and four assists in a 16–13 victory over No. 15 Princeton. The junior was named the Ivy League Player of the Week this past Monday after putting up a career-high five goals in Yale’s 14–12 weekend victory over Penn.
The Macedon, New York native could not have found a better time to hit his stride as Yale entered the toughest part of its Ivy League schedule. Back-to-back road victories over Princeton and Penn, who have both been ranked in the national top 20 at times during this season, put the Bulldogs in first place in the conference standings and make them the favorite in May’s Ancient Eight tournament.
One of five finalists last year for the Tewaaraton Award, college lacrosse’s Heisman Trophy, Reeves leads the 2017 Bulldogs with 20 goals and 36 total points despite missing almost two complete games with injury. Although he did not find the back of the next in his first game back from injury against Bryant, he still assisted on four of Yale’s six goals in his first contest back. In a second straight loss to UMass-Amherst a few days later, Reeves led the team with four goals.
Reeves’ complete offensive game has led to much of his success in a Yale uniform. Yale lists the junior at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, meaning few defenders can match up physically with him. He also has the speed to get a step on his defender. Though left-handed, Reeves has also burned defenses that let him drive to his right.
Just letting Reeves shoot from the perimeter might be a worse strategy. When given time to set his feet, he has a cannon for an outside shot.
It is Reeves’ vision and ability to pick out teammates cutting to the net, however, makes him truly unstoppable. Double-teaming is a risky proposition, as there are few attackers in the nation better at distributing the ball.
Reeves scored 45 goals and had 34 assists in 16 games last year.