Fall Ball Notebook: Bonnies Coming Together, New Look Bulldogs

Photo Courtesy of St. Bonaventure Men's Lacrosse

Many schools have been in fall ball mode for a few weeks now and we have seen quite a few scrimmages overall. This past weekend things really heated up as we saw plenty of scrimmages from Friday through Sunday. To start the weekend we got a look at St. Bonaventure as they played Israel on Friday night. That game was live streamed on St. Bonaventure's Athletics Facebook page. On Saturday Yale took on Team USA at Sparks,MD at the US Lacrosse Fall Classic

St. Bonaventure 18 vs Israel 2

The Bonnies held their first ever lacrosse game on campus this weekend as they scrimmaged Israel on Friday night. It wasn't the full Israel national team but they still had some talent up against them. 

One of the big things that stuck out to me was obviously the youth of St. Bonaventure. With this being a new program they have thirty plus freshman on this roster which is the most in the country. And really the youth of this program as a whole was very evident through out the scrimmage. You could clearly see the team as a whole growing through each mistake they made, especially on the offense.

While the Bonnies defense looked pretty good on Friday, and was said to look good in their first scrimmage against John Carroll back in September, the offense still has some growing pains. The overall chemistry will take time to develop and you can see that is taking place right now. Early in the scrimmage against Israel they were playing a little slow but in the second quarter they really turned on the jets and started looking more like cohesive unit and not just single man show.

Austin Blumbergs is one guy that really stood out to me throughout the scrimmage. Blumbergs seems to be one of their leaders on the offensive side of the ball and he showed it on Friday. The ball seemed to be in his stick a lot and he was able to make things happen with his scoring and passing as well. Another guy on offense that looked very good was Matthew DeGirolamo as he was an impact player for the Bonnies as well. With his scoring the Bonnies really got their offense going. DeGirolamo was also able to get that offense in rhythm as well.

Midfielder Michael Caulfield is the only senior on the team. He is a guy that Coach Mearns and that Bonnies staff will really look to for leadership. Caulfield played well on Friday and you could see how the experience he possesses was able to effect the entire team.

As the defense did look good and a little more put together than the offense there were some takeaways from that side of the ball as well. The D looked good for the most part but there were some miscommunication issues, again that comes with the youth, during times when they were set. In the transition game the Bonnies defense thrived. The Bonnies rarely let Israel penetrate the defense when they got out in transition. One of the guys that really stood out on the defensive side of the ball was LSM/D Zack Belter. He was one of the guys on D that was always swarming to the ball and showed a ton of aggressiveness.

Yale 7 vs Team USA 12

It was the national champs vs the world champs on Saturday when the Yale Bulldogs took on Team USA in the US Lacrosse Fall Classic in Sparks,MD at US Lacrosse HQ. While it wasn't the entire Team USA team that won in Israel a majority of them suited up and it was still indeed a collection of the best players in the world. The new look Yale Bulldogs had their hands full for sure as they were missing a few guys for various different reasons, but still looked pretty good.

The Yale defense stood out pretty early on as goalie Jack Starr was fantastic. Starr looked like he was in midseason form in October as he really did have an impressive day and drew plenty of eyeballs with some of his big saves in the first half.

The close D is going to be more of a work in progress as Starr can't do it all. Sophomore defenseman Chris Fake was the best pole for Yale on Saturday, hands down. Fake had a good day as expected but the surrounding cast is going to have to improve. Fake and Starr can't be the entire defense all year. There were some unforced errors on defense that can be fixed with more practice time and as the chemistry build.

On the offensive side of the ball is where Yale has their biggest loss from last season with no Ben Reeves. They also have a few injuries and were missing a few guys due to other commitments such as football.

Life without Reeves won't be such a big issue as many may think, because that Yale offense is already looking pretty good. At the attack position Jackson Morrill was manning the X while sophomore Brendan Mooney was on the left side and freshman Matt Brandau played the right side. This lineup gave Yale some very good production. That attack played very well and could work very well in the spring if they keep it like that. Obviously Matt Gaudet will be in the lineup once he returns from injury.

The midfield was a little bit different of a look as we saw the Bulldogs invert two attackman in Joey Sessa and Lucas Cotler. They were able to be a pretty good catalyst for that offense and played very well at the midfield spot. Sophomore midfielder Brian Tevlin also had a good day providing a scoring threat from the midfield.

TD Ierlan and Joe Neuman didn't look too impressive at the faceoff dot but it's still early and they were up against Trevor Baptiste and Greg Gurelian. Ierlan would go 4-15 and Neuman went 2-7. While it wasn't the best day they are both growing into a new system with Ierlan transferring from Albany and Neuman being a freshman.