We are still feeling the reverberations from the Ivy League’s decision to cancel their season in 2021. Ty Xanders of Inside Lacrosse broke the news that nine members of the Princeton Men’s Lacrosse team are entering the NCAA lacrosse transfer portal and will look to finish their collegiate lacrosse careers outside of the Ivy League for the 2023-24 season.
The list includes attackmen Alex Slusher and Christian Ronda, midfielders Sam English and Jack Stevens, and SSDM Beau Pederson. The group helped lead the Tigers to a historic season last year and to a Memorial Day Weekend appearance.
The Tigers fell to the Maryland Terrapins, 13-8, in a spirited semifinal matchup. The Tigers will look to capture some of the same magic as they prepare for the upcoming 2023 season.
This isn’t the first time that the Tigers and Matt Madalon have had their top players enter the NCAA lacrosse transfer portal to finish up their careers with other programs. Princeton saw many of its top performers for 2020 play for other teams in 2021. Michael Sowers and Phil Robertson transferred to Duke, along with Connor McCarthy transferring to UNC.
These players aren’t leaving because they are disgruntled. Instead, their eligibility timer runs out after the 2023 season. Princeton has a strict eight-semester window for its athletes. Due to the cancellation of 2021, some of these players have an extra year or two of eligibility to continue their lacrosse careers.
This policy though is not consistent across the league. Harvard, Brown, and Dartmouth have similar policies. However, Yale, Cornell, and Penn do not. Confused? Yeah, we are too. But to help you sort it out we have compiled a brief overview of the players coming and going from the Ivy League.
We will start by looking at the schools that have the eight-semester eligibility criteria.
Princeton finished 2022 with an 11-5 record. They rebounded after failing to qualify for the Ivy League tournament with a deep NCAA tournament run, falling to the eventual national champions, Maryland, in the semifinals.
The Tigers have not lost or added any players from the NCAA lacrosse transfer portal for the 2023 season. They will be looking to replace attackman Chris Brown (31G/41A) and goalie Erik Peters heading into the upcoming season. The Tigers packed their bags this fall and took a team trip to Barcelona, Spain.
The Crimson went 8-5 last year and made both the Ivy League and NCAA tournaments. Gerry Byrne had a young team that grew up quickly. Seven Crimson had 20 or more points in 2022. Four of those were freshmen, led by Sam King (25G/21A).
Harvard had two graduate transfers leave after the 2022 season. The first was LSM Jackson Hartje who transferred to Lindenwood for his final year. In addition, the Crimson will be losing goalie Kyle Mullin. Mullin is transferring to Rutgers for his final year of eligibility. Mullins was a three-year starter for the Crimson and both of his teammates spoke highly of his leadership when I interviewed them last month.
Dartmouth showed improvement last year under Brendan Callahan. The Big Green went 4-9 last year. Although they were winless in Ivy League play, they did have nice in-season wins against Bryant and Vermont.
The Big Green’s Daniel Hincks, a three-year starter at goalie, used his grad transfer and will now be with the Swamp Dogs in Georgetown. Hincks has saved 52% of the shots he faced. He made some big saves in a close game with Cornell last spring.
Now, we will take a look at the schools that do not have an eight-semester eligibility window.
Andy Shay and the Bulldogs went 12-5 last season. Their offense scored in bundles (ask BU) last season, but they had to. The Yale defense was not as sound as years past and they finished with the 49th-ranked defense in D1 lacrosse.
Attackman Matt Brandau, midfielders Thomas Bragg and Jack Ocken, and defenseman Bryce De Muth all sat out the fall semester in 2022 and will do the same in 2023 to exhaust their eligibility in New Haven.
Matt Brandau is one of the game’s most dynamic attackmen. Brandau (57G/42A) had a big 2022 and he should continue to thrive with fellow attackman Leo Johnson’s maturity. Brandau spent his summer with Team USA and helped them win a silver medal at The World Games in Birmingham, Alabama.
Thomas Bragg is a man-up nightmare with his hands-free. The 6’4″ midfielder from New York had 25 goals and 5 assists last year for the Bulldogs. That stick toss would make the Motor City Hitman blush.
Yale will be without three important pieces that all left New Haven as grad transfers. Brian Tevlin and Chris Fake went to Notre Dame and Joe Neuman went to Rutgers. Tevlin was a captain for the Bulldogs in 2022 and had 26 points (13G/13A).
Fake is one of the most feared and respected close defensemen in college lacrosse. Neuman won 61.5% of his faceoffs while playing for Yale.
Brown’s 2022 season was like your typical lacrosse game; a game of runs. Larken’s Bears had a four-game and five-game winning streak each sandwiched by a three-game losing streak. The hard work paid off with a share of the Ivy League Championship and earning a spot in the NCAA tournament.
The Bears lost two to graduate transfers in midfielder George Pike and goalie Cameron Fiore. The Bears were active in the NCAA lacrosse transfer portal picking up three freshmen including attackman Aidan McLane (Fairfield), LSM Gibson Linnehan (Providence), and Midfielder Matteo Corsi (Syracuse). Corsi showed flashes of his potential for the Orange last year and should fit in nicely with Bruno’s fast-paced offense.
The Cardiac Quakers had an 11-5 season that saw them win the Ivy League tournament and make a quarterfinal run in the NCAA Tournament. 11 of their 16 games in 2022 were decided by two goals or less.
Four Quakers are away from the team this fall to preserve their spring eligibility. The list is led by the Ivy League Player of the Year Sam Handley. Handley was nearly unstoppable in 2022 finishing the season with 36 goals and 36 assists. He is the presumptive No.1 pick in the 2023 PLL draft. Handley has been honing his craft with Team USA this fall.
In addition, Penn is without honorable mention All Americans SSDM Piper Bond and LSM BJ Farrare, and attackman Dylan Gergar. Gergar has 69 points on the season, finishing with 52 goals and 17 assists.
The Quakers have also brought in and lost a player to the NCAA lacrosse transfer portal. Sophomore midfielder Connell Kumar comes in from Virginia and senior FOGO Jamie Zuisi took his graduate transfer elegibility to Duke. Zusi was an All-Ivy Honorable Mention. This is the second Penn FOGO to take his talents to the ACC. Kyle Gallagher transferred to Notre Dame in 2021 as a graduate transfer.
The Big Red were semi-finalists in 2022. The Big Red finished the season 14-5 under first-year head coach Connor Buczek. Buczek was no stranger to the Big Red as he was a 3x All American and the Ivy League Player of the Year in 2014 for Cornell. He has been with the program since 2015 starting as a volunteer coach.
The Big Red will be led by attackman CJ Kirst in 2022. Kirst was second on the team with 79 points scoring 55 goals and 24 assists. He was in Ireland this past summer helping leading the U21 Team USA to the gold medal and was named the Tournament MVP.
Bennett Abladian will look to fill in for graduated attackman John Piatelli. Abladian comes in from Bryant where he had 42 goals and 5 assists for the Bulldogs
The NCAA lacrosse transfer portal has giveth and taketh from the Ivy League the last few years. The league has remained strong in recruiting and is coming off an impressive 2022 season. The Ivy League will no doubt put themselves in a position for multiple bids again in 2023.