NEW HAVEN, Conn. – It has become the norm that the toughest part of the Yale men’s lacrosse team schedule is its Ivy League contests. Such is the life in what may be the strongest conference in 2014. Four of the seven Ivy schools were ranked in the final 2013 USILA Poll and two were NCAA quarterfinalists, including the Elis, two-time defending Ivy League Tournament Champions who are currently No. 7 in the NCAA/insidelacrosse.com poll.
The Bulldogs, who are already ranked in the top 10 of two national pre-season polls and have a pair of scrimmages leading up to the regular season, open on Feb. 22 at home against St. John’s. That 1:30 p.m. game is the first of six contests at Reese Stadium. The games at New Haven include three Ivy (Princeton, Penn, Harvard) and three non-league (St. John’s, Lehigh, Quinnipiac).
The regular-season finale has the archrival Crimson at Reese Stadium for a 2 p.m. face-off on April 26. This, like all home games, can be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network.
The 2014 road slate, which also has three league contests, is highlighted by a first-ever meeting with Michigan on April 19. That 4 p.m. game at Ann Arbor will be played in 109,000-seat Michigan Stadium, where the Wolverines are in their third season of varsity competition as a member of the ECAC.
Yale, led by Andy Shay, The Ryan & Forst Family Head Coach, is coming off a 12-5 spring that included four and five-game win streaks, a second straight Ivy Tournament title and a win at Penn State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Elis, who finished No. 7 in the final Nike rankings and were New England Champions, came within a goal of making the 2013 national semifinals.
The Bulldogs, whose 12 victories were the most by a Yale squad since 1992, return four All-New England selections including Tewaaraton Trophy candidate and honorable mention USILA All-AmericanBrandon Mangan, a senior attackman.
The 2014 squad, which will face six teams listed among the pre-season national rankings, is led by captain and senior defenseman Jimmy Craft, who helped the Blue rank sixth nationally in scoring defense with a 7.94 mark. He and his teammates begin competition with scrimmages on Feb. 8 (at Stony Brook) and Feb. 16 (Tufts).