2023 NCAA Lacrosse Rankings: No. 8 Yale (Men)

PHOTO COURTESY OF YALE ATHLETICS

Matt Brandau was a worthy Tewaaraton candidate in 2022.


The 2023 college lacrosse season is almost here. As is our annual tradition, we’re featuring every team ranked in the Nike/USA Lacrosse Preseason Top 20.

Check back to USALaxMagazine.com each weekday this month for new previews, scouting reports and rival analysis.

NO. 8 YALE

2022 Record: 12-5 (4-2 Ivy League)
Final Ranking (2022): No. 9
Coach: Andy Shay

TOP RETURNERS

Matt Brandau, A, Gr. 

Brandau has been a Tewaaraton-caliber player for the past three seasons, most recently scoring 57 times and adding 42 assists to finish second in the nation in points per game. He’s the leader of an offense that has the potential to be one of the best in the nation, thus making him a Tewaaraton favorite. 

Leo Johnson, A, So.

Yale needed a complementary scorer entering last season, and it found one in Johnson, the former Avon Old Farms star who dropped 64 points in 2022. He’s a threat to be one of the Ivy League’s most impactful players this spring. 

Michael Alexander, D, Jr.

Alexander has emerged as one of the Ivy League’s most formidable forces on defense, tallying seven caused turnovers and 14 ground balls while starting every game last season. He earned second-team All-Ivy League honors and will look to help the Bulldogs improve on the 13.24 goals allowed in 2022. 

KEY ADDITIONS

Lucas Osborne, M, Fr. 

Osborne comes highly acclaimed as a five-star recruit out of Lawrence School and Culver (Ind.). The two-way middie was recruited by a number of Ivy League schools, including Princeton, where Canadians like Zach Currier have flourished. He hopes to have the same impact in New Haven. 

Konrad Miklaszewski, LSM, Fr. 

The New Jersey Defenseman of the Year looks to contribute immediately on a defense that could use his services. The rangy lefty was a top 40 recruit by Inside Lacrosse. 

Eric Platten, D, Fr. 

Platten helped Canandaigua win the Section V state championship last spring. Just like Miklaszewski, Platten can slot in at LSM and plays as a rangy pole — part of a strong defensive recruiting class for Andy Shay’s program. 

KEY DEPARTURES

Graduations: Brian Tevlin, M (Notre Dame); Chris Fake, D (Notre Dame)







STORYLINES TO WATCH

How will the Yale defense hold up against the Ivy’s best? 

It’s no secret that the Ivy League is one of the most electric conferences in college lacrosse, and Yale’s defense felt that firsthand throughout the 2022 season. The Bulldogs finished last spring as the 54th-ranked defense in the nation — a testament to offensive juggernauts like Cornell, Penn and Princeton. 

In addition, All-Americans Chris Fake and Brian Tevlin transferred to Notre Dame for their graduate seasons, leaving a major void on the Yale defense. Bryce De Muth and Michael Alexander return for the Bulldogs, and will asked to shoulder a larger load with talents like Sam Handley, C.J. Kirst, Alex Slusher and others lining up against them. 

Jared Paquette also returns for his junior season after saving 52.5 percent of his shots in 2022. Can this version of the Yale defense keep the Bulldogs in games and allow the likes of Brandau, Johnson and Lyons to take over? 

Can Yale emerge with enough wins out of a challenging schedule?

We knew going into the 2023 season that Yale would face a daunting Ivy League schedule that includes five other teams ranked in our preseason top 20 (Cornell, Penn, Princeton, Brown, Harvard).

“Some people will pick us first in conference,” Shay said. “I could see us easily finishing last with the talent that we have in this league, and I’m not saying it would be a bad year.”

However, Andy Shay’s program didn’t settle for what could be the toughest conference slate in the country. The Bulldogs’ nonconference schedule includes an opener at Villanova (a team with which they’ve traded thrilling matchups), then competitive Penn State and UMass teams. As the calendar moves to March, Yale hosts Denver in Bill Tierney’s final season. For one final nonconference test, the Bulldogs host Boston U on April 4.

Yale will have to be at its best in every game this season, or it could be situated on the NCAA tournament bubble.

Will this be Matt Brandau’s Tewaaraton year?

Brandau has been one of the best players to step foot on campus in New Haven, sitting fourth all-time on Yale’s points list with 189. He’s suited up for the Bulldogs for what seems like over a handful of years, but Brandau is just entering his fourth season (COVID-19 wiped out 2021).

After tallying 99 points last season, Brandau got plenty of attention surrounding the Tewaaraton Award. He narrowly missed out on being named a finalist for the award, but if he repeats that same feat in 2023, he might take home the award.

With a sophomore class still growing in Yale’s offensive system, Brandau will have plenty of opportunities to add to his career totals. He likely won’t pass Ben Reeves’ 316 points for the school record, but he could match Reeves with the sport’s ultimate individual prize.

ENEMY LINES
WHAT RIVALS ARE SAYING ABOUT THE BULLDOGS

“Yale, to me, is the model of how you want your team to be built. They’re disciplined, they’re deep, they’re strong, they’re athletic, they’re tough up the middle. If you’re trying to build a team for long-term success, they’re what we want to look like.”

BEYOND THE BASICS
POWERED BY LACROSSE REFERENCE

1

No disrespect to Matt Brandau, who absolutely deserved every accolade sent his way last year. But you could make an argument that Chris Lyons should have gotten an equal share himself. Very few players filled up the stat sheet like Lyons did last year. Here’s the list of players who accomplished the following feats in 2022:

— Shot at least 37%
— Recorded at least 12 assists
— Had fewer than 13 turnovers
— Picked up at least 17 ground balls

Chris Lyons. That’s the list.

Lacrosse Reference Glossary

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