Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan
After winning the Ivy League and defeating Penn State in the first round of last year’s tournament, the Yale Bulldogs will be just as dangerous in 2014 as they were last year. Thanks to players like Brandon Mangan and Dylan Levings, Yale has the potential to make another deep run into the Tournament.
The aforementioned Brandon Mangan is the leader of the attacking unit. He had an impressive 39 goals and 25 assists last year. Mangan is a do-it-all kind of player, and is very difficult to cover. Joining Mangan is junior Conrad Oberbeck, a lefty finisher. Oberbeck had 38 goals and 6 assists last year, a school record for sophomores. The third starter will be Deron Dempster, a senior who didn’t play last year but had 37 goals in 2012. This unit has plenty of experience, and will be the most dangerous part of the Yale offense in 2014.
The returning midfielders have not seen the same production as the attack unit in recent years, but a mix of upperclassmen and underclassmen will provide a dynamic midfield in 2014. Senior Ryan McCarthy, who had 6 goals and 13 assists last year will start. Joining him will be junior Colin Flaherty, who had 17 goals and 10 assists last year. Flaherty is the best shooter on the midfield unit, and has the most goals coming in. The third starter will likely be freshman Eric Scott. Also seeing time will be juniors Sean Shakespeare and Shane Thornton.
Dylan Levings is one of the best faceoff specialists in the country. His technique is unmatched by any other Division 1 player. Levings won 60% of his draws last year, and the amount of extra possessions he provides to the Bulldog offense will be vital to their success.
The starting LSM will be freshman Brian Pratt, from Chaminade. This will certainly be a challenge for Pratt, as the Ivy League is full of talented offenses. His adjustment to the college game will be something to keep an eye on.
Yale lost two starters on defense, but they bring back Michael Quinn, who started 13 games as a freshman. Last season, he had 27 groundballs and 14 caused turnovers. He is joined by seniors Jimmy Craft and John Ambrose. Craft is very quick and could see some time up top at LSM. He had 39 groundballs and 17 caused turnovers last year. Ambrose didn’t see much action last year (8 groundballs, 6 caused turnovers) but figured to start at close this year. Also in the mix are freshman Cam Martini and Chris Keating.
Junior Eric Natale had a very impressive year last spring, saving 54% of the shots that went his way, and posting a 7.8 GAA. However, 2012 starter Jack Meyer will be pushing him for time, and they could both see some minutes.
Yale returns a large portion of their offense, and some talented defenders. Levings gives them a huge advantage at the X, and both goaltending options are solid. If the freshman defenders play to their potential, then Yale looks poised to go back to back as Ivy League Champions.
For more NCAA D1 Lacrosse team coverage, check out Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Previews: Air_Force, Albany, Army, Bellarmine, Binghamton, Boston, Brown, Bryant, Bucknell, Canisius,
Colgate, Cornell, Dartmouth, Delaware, Detroit, Drexel, Duke, Fairfield, Furman,
Georgetown, Hartford, Harvard, High Point, Hobart, Hofstra, Holy Cross, Jacksonville, Johns_Hopkins, Lafayette, Lehigh, Loyola, Manhattan, Marist, Marquette,
Maryland, Massachusetts, Mercer, Michigan, Monmouth, Navy, North_Carolina,
Notre_Dame, Ohio_State, Penn, Penn_State, Princeton, Providence, Quinnipiac, Richmond,
Robert_Morris, Rutgers, Sacred_Heart, Saint_Joseph’s, Siena, St. John’s, Stony_Brook, Syracuse, Towson, UMBC, Vermont, Villanova, Virginia, VMI and Wagner.