The No. 20 men’s lacrosse team (7-4, 2-2 Ivy League) upset No. 5 Yale (7-3, 3-2) by a score of 20-13 Saturday at Stevenson-Pincince Field. The matchup marked the latest installment of the Ivy League lacrosse free-for-all that features six teams ranked in the top 20 nationally.
After the Bears dropped their first two conference matchups of the season to then-No. 15 Harvard and No. 9 Princeton, the win over Yale marked the Bears’ second consecutive victory against a top-10 opponent, having beaten No. 8 Penn 12-10 on April 9. Brown has now recovered to sit in a tie with Harvard for fourth place in the conference, with only the top four teams making the Ivy League tournament. There are two games left in the regular season for the Bears.
“(I’m) really proud of our players,” said Head Coach Mike Daly. “(It was) unbelievable for our seniors to keep the team focused even after last week's game and they just kept grinding today.”
In front of crowded bleachers and a lively crowd on the program’s Alumni Day, the Bears overwhelmed the Bulldogs with an aggressive defense and repeated attacking onslaughts for their first win over Yale since April 2016.
Although they were missing injured, second-leading scorer Darian Cook ’22, the Brown offense recorded a season-high 60 shots and committed a season-low ten turnovers. Midfielder Ryan Aughavin GS was at the forefront of nearly every Bruno attack, taking a career-high 18 shots, four of which found the back of the net. Attackers Devon McLane ’23 and Brian Antonelli ’22 each scored four goals of their own, while Cook’s replacement in the starting lineup, attacker Trevor Glavin ’23, supplied two goals and two assists in his first career start.
Glavin, midfielder Jack Kelly ’24 and defenseman Colin Hart ’23.5 all picked up their first career goals.
“Obviously (you) hate to see (Cook) go down,” Antonelli said. “He’s been playing really hard for the last four years for us so (it’s) never good to see that and it’s been tough, but Trevor Glavin stepped up really well.”
“I think we’ve been playing with (Cook) on our minds,” he added.
On the defensive end, goalie Connor Theriault ’24 made 15 saves, while long poles Andrew Geppert ’22, Silas Newsome ’22 and Luke Gaydos ’22 each caused a pair of turnovers and continually frustrated the Bulldog attackers.
Aughavin kicked off the scoring just 47 seconds in when he received the ball at midfield, began a full sprint at the Yale defense, made a slight dodge to his left and then fired a missile past Yale goalie Jared Paquette.
Glavin scored minutes later to double the Bears lead. It wasn’t until seven minutes in that Yale was able to find the back of the net.
Kelly ripped a shot into the top shelf to restore the Bears’ two goal lead, but following a subsequent media time-out, the Bulldogs scored three straight goals to pull ahead 4-3.
After a Yale turnover, McLane was able to even the score with just seven seconds left in the quarter. The Bulldogs committed seven turnovers in the first quarter, but made up for the lost possessions by winning seven of nine faceoffs.
In the second quarter, the Bears scored three unanswered goals in the first five minutes including two more from Aughavin, but again Yale responded after a time-out and scored three of their own in the next five minutes.
Glavin and Kelly each added a goal for the Bears before Yale drew within one at the end of the half. Bulldog attacker Matt Brandau, who entered the game with 5.89 points per game, a mark that ranked fourth in the country, scored two and assisted two more in the quarter and finished the game with four goals and three assists.
Yale continued their dominance at the face-off X, in total winning 14 of 19 in the first half. But Brown found more space in the attacking zone and recorded 33 shots to Yale’s 20.
But it was in the third quarter that Brown’s faceoff fortunes began to shift, helping them pull away from Yale for good. Faceoff man Matthew Gunty ’23 won four straight face-offs to begin the second half, a crucial part of a 4-0 Brown run that would have been even more fruitful if not for several stunning saves from Paquette.
Yale created a number of promising opportunities for the rest of the quarter, but repeated reflex saves from Theriault — plus a couple more from the posts — limited Yale to three goals in the quarter, while Hart and Antonelli each added another for Brown to make it a 15-11 game.
And in the final quarter, the Bears ran rampant, recording another 4-0 run while Newsome and Gaydos hounded the Yale attack and Theriault denied anything that got through. The Bulldogs would not score for the first 10 minutes of the quarter, and by the time they ended the drought, the Bruno lead had ballooned to eight.
Finishing at 20-13, the game marked the first time the Bears had scored more than 12 goals since March 5, when they defeated Providence College 22-10.
“It was as complete of a team win as we’ve had all year,” Daly said. “The offense answered a lot of times; the defense got their stops; (on) faceoffs … they just kept working and grinding and came up with a few key wins at the end.”
The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Bears, who next travel to Ithaca to face No. 4 Cornell (10-2, 3-1 Ivy) and continue their run through the Ivy League gauntlet.
The conference has the most ranked teams in the top 20, and in total the Ivy League schools have an astonishing 34-9 non-conference record, with five of those nine losses coming against top 10 opposition.
“It’s where we expect to be,” Aughavin said of the Bears’ performance Saturday, but he emphasized that the team is not focused on the other Ivy teams. “We worry about us, we worry about the guys in our locker room.”
A win against Big Red plus a victory over last-place Dartmouth (4-7, 0-4 Ivy) in the final conference game of the season would cement Brown’s place in the Ivy League tournament in early May.
“(We’re going to) keep going playing team offense,” Antonelli said of the Cornell game. “We’ll go up there and see what we can do.”
“Our goal is always to be playing our best lacrosse in May,” Daly said. “We took a good step toward that.”