Syracuse’s next opponent is the Yale Bulldogs, making their first NCAA tournament quarterfinal appearance since 1992. The Bulldogs came back from a 5-1 halftime to deficit to beat No. 8-seed Penn State 10-7 in their first-round matchup. They’ve won four straight, including the Ivy League championship game against Princeton, heading into Saturday’s 3 p.m. matchup in College Park, Md. With an on-paper advantage at the faceoff X and a defense primed with force and fortitude, Yale will be looking to upset the top-seeded Orange early in SU’s quest for a 12th national championship.
So here’s what you need to know about the Ivy League automatic qualifier:
Record: 12-4 (4-2 Ivy League)
Season outline: Yale has four losses, but only one after March 22. After dropping three of their first six games, the Bulldogs ride into Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium having won nine of their last 10 games. Victims in that stretch include Penn and Princeton, which Yale eliminated from the Ivy League tournament. The lone defeat was a one-goal loss to Maryland, which earned the No. 6-seed in the NCAA tournament. The Bulldogs have also scored double-digit goals in six of those nine victories.
Players to watch:
Brandon Mangan (36 goals, 25 assists): The junior attack is Yale’s leading goal scorer and assist man. He has a goal in every game this season and at least three points in 12 of 16. He set a season-low in point output with just one goal on six shots against the Nittany Lions. Look for Mangan as the most potent weapon in the Bulldogs offense, though fellow attacks Conrad Oberbeck (34 goals, 8 assists) and Kirby Zdrill (30 goals, 2 assists) have also proven to be capable scorers.
Peter Johnson (35 caused turnovers, 33 ground balls): The two-time All-Ivy League defender leads a Bulldogs back line that, out of the eight teams remaining in the NCAA tournament, ranks best in scoring defense and second in caused turnovers. Johnson leads Yale in caused turnovers and will likely mark either SU attack Kevin Rice or midfielder JoJo Marasco. Michael McCormack, a second-team All-Ivy selection, is expected to take the other one.
Dylan Levings (200-of-338 faceoffs, 123 ground balls): Levings may be the key to Yale’s upset hopes. SU’s greatest weakness lies at the center of each lacrosse field. Bryant’s Kevin Massa won 22-of-23 faceoffs against the Orange in their first-round game and the Bulldogs jumped out to a 4-0 lead midway through the first quarter. If Levings can either draw from the X to himself or a teammate considerably more than his Syracuse counterparts, as he has done all season, Yale will at the very least have more possessions.
Andy Shay: The 10th-year coach has led Yale to a 43-17 mark over the last three-plus seasons and has turned a middle-of-the-pack Ivy League program into a defensive stalwart. Shay’s defenses have ranked in the Top 10 nationally in each of the last four seasons. Shay played collegiately at LeMoyne College, where he was a four-year defensive starter and two-year captain before graduating in 1994.
Odds and ends:
The Yale-Syracuse series: It’s been 13 years and five national championships since Syracuse has taken on the Bulldogs. It’s been 50 years since Yale last beat SU. The Orangemen won the last matchup 18-6 on March 11, 2000 and have taken 18-of-22 overall. That dominating stretch includes a 17-8 win on May 16, 1992 — their only other meeting in the NCAA tournament. Yale’s last victory against Syracuse was an 11-9 win in New Haven in 1963.
Returning to Byrd Stadium: This is the second time this season Yale will play in College Park, Md., and the first since the Bulldogs dropped an 8-7 battle with the Terrapins on April 20. Exactly four weeks later, Yale returns to Byrd Stadium for Saturday’s national quarterfinal.
Rolling on the road: The Bulldogs have played five straight games away from New Haven. They’ve gone 4-1 in that span, playing three games on the road and two at neutral sites. On the season, Yale is 7-3 when playing away from Reese Stadium.
Remember? Me either: Yale won its lone national championship in 1883 when the sport was governed by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association, which crowned the national champion until 1971 when the NCAA first sanctioned a national tournament.
That year – 130 years ago – the title was shared with Harvard and Princeton. There is no person on this planet known to have been alive at the time. Chester A. Arthur was U.S. president at the time.
North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii were not yet states.
- Compiled by The Daily Orange sports staff, firstname.lastname@example.org
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