(Photo Courtesy of Yale Athletics)
The standard remains in New Haven. The Yale Bulldogs are headed back to the NCAA Quarterfinals for the third time in five years (three full Yale seasons) after defeating the Saint Joseph’s Hawks 18-16 in an offensive shootout.
Matt Brandau and Leo Johnson led the way for the Bulldogs with identical four goals, two assists stat lines. One of the two was in on four of the final five goals for the Bulldogs. That included Brandau scoring the second-to-last goal of the game for Yale while Johnson put home the final score of the contest to help ensure the victory.
Tucker Brown, Levi Anderson, and Matt Bohmer each netted hat tricks to lead the way for the Hawks. Eight of combined nine goals between the three came during the first half. Carter Page (2G) was the other first-half scorer for Saint Joseph’s that helped them get ahead 9-8 at the break.
A pair of consecutive scores from Brown and Anderson pulled the Hawks ahead 9-6 with just over two minutes left in the second quarter before Yale was able to cut it to one, 9-8, following a pair of scores from Chris Lyons and Matt Brandau.
In a game that saw nine ties, five lead changes, and a combined 34 goals, scoring was very much the highlight of the contest. However, the game within the game came at the faceoff dot.
Housing the best faceoff man in college lacrosse in Zach Cole, Saint Joseph’s had an edge at the dot coming into the game and Yale’s biggest challenge was likely going to be how to slow down Cole.
In the first half, Cole went 14-for-16 (87%) and was as dominant as expected. Yale threw sophomore James Ball into the mix, along with their primary option Nicholas Ramsey, late in the second half and kept rolled him out there for all but seven of the second half draws. Ball was able to give Cole a challenge, going 8-for-13 (61%) on the day to help give Yale more momentum at the spot.
Ball’s impact wasn’t just limited to the faceoff dot as he scored his first career goal at the 7:32 of the third quarter, capping a three-goal Bulldogs run to put them ahead 14-11. Despite Saint Joseph’s ability to fight back late, Yale never trailed again after taking the lead during that run.
After cutting the lead to one, 17-16, with 3:37 remaining, the Hawks had multiple opportunities to tie it up and possibly take the lead. However, a failed clear and two turnovers were all they could drum up during those final few minutes as Yale stood tall and was able to defend their home turf and walk away victorious.
Jared Paquette made 16 saves for Yale while Robbie Seeley made nine for Saint Joseph’s.
The Yale win sets up a rematch with Ivy League foe Princeton in Hempstead next week. Yale beat Princeton 14-12 in late March.