With the disappointment of last weekend’s loss to Penn still lingering, the No. 12 men’s lacrosse team will look to get back on track Saturday as it takes on on No. 9 Yale in a pivotal Ivy League matchup. Last year, the Bears (8-2, 2-1) suffered a crushing overtime defeat to the Bulldogs (8-2, 2-2 Ivy), but this time around they have their sights set on flipping the script. A win would certainly go a long way for Bruno, putting the team in solid position for the Ivy League playoffs.
“Approaching Yale is always tough,” said Corbin Booker ’15. “They are a very good team and have been playing really well. The best thing that we can do is continue to prepare for what they have and push each other in practice to make sure everyone is ready to play on Saturday.”
In order for the Bears to take down the Bulldogs, the offense will have to return to its high-scoring ways. Over the past two games, the Bears have averaged only 10.5 goals — considerably lower than their 15.6 season average. A dip in offensive production could be attributed to a tough stretch of league play now in full swing, and the team is not worried about the future viability of the offense.
“Our offense has been fine,” said Kylor Bellistri ’16. “We are continuing to learn more about each other in practice each day, and this weekend is another great opportunity to prove that.”
Bellistri, along with Henry Blynn ’16 and nation-leading scorer Dylan Molloy ’17, will look to spearhead the attack this weekend against Yale. The three have combined for an impressive 90 goals on the year so far, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the team’s total offensive production.
Facing off against Yale, which is on a three-game winning streak, will certainly provide a stiff challenge for the Bears. After falling to Cornell and Princeton in back-to-back games, the Bulldogs recovered to win their next two Ivy League games, bringing their league record back to .500. Along the way, they have proven to be a top-tier offense as well, ranking in the top 15 nationally with an average of 12 goals per game.
Booker said the key to stopping Yale will be containing its offense. Goalie Jack Kelly ’16 will likely be a critical piece of the defensive effort, with his hopes set on repeating a solid 15-save performance during last week’s outing against Penn. A lot will also rest in the hands of Larken Kemp ’16, who has proven to be an instrumental part of the team’s defense. Kemp currently sits second nationally in turnovers caused per game. Will Gural ’16, the team’s face-off specialist, could also prove to be the difference maker, as he currently ranks 10th nationally in face-off winning percentage.
Yet no one player will decide Saturday’s match against Yale — it will take a complete team effort to bring down the Bulldogs. Booker and Bellistri maintained optimism in preparing to play such a tough opponent.
“The Ivy League is deep every year, and with teams that are constantly in the top 10 rankings, you know that each week is a dogfight,” Booker said. “We handle it so well because it is why we came to Brown. Every opportunity to compete is a chance to win.”
“It’s always a lot of fun playing good teams and having tough competition,” Bellistri said. “We all embrace that each Ivy League game is going to be a battle. This weekend should be fun.”