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Matt Brandau became the Ivy League’s career leader in goals with 198.

NCAA Rewind: Brandau, Depth Overshadow Yale's Injury Issues

July 8, 2024
Patrick Stevens
Rich Barnes

Before USA Lacrosse Magazine looks ahead to what’s to come in 2025 — look out for our NCAA Way-Too-Early Top 25 rankings later this summer — our team of staff and contributors decided it was worth taking a last look at the 2024 college lacrosse season.

To do that, we’re taking a journey through 30 of the top teams in men’s and women’s lacrosse to see what went right, what went wrong and how we should feel about the season.


USA Lacrosse preseason/final ranking: No. 10/No. 15
2024 record: 11-4 (4-2 Ivy League)

What went right: Matt Brandau, for starters. The attackman became the Ivy League’s career leader in goals with 198. His 44-goal, 57-assist season made him just the second Yale player to reach 100 points in a season, joining Ben Reeves’ Tewaaraton-winning 2018 campaign. 

Despite a spate of absences, the Bulldogs finished second nationally in goals per game (15.53) and 10th in shooting percentage (.324). When healthy, Machado Rodriguez (.608 in 245 attempts) and Nicholas Ramsey (.631 in 103 attempts) were an exceptional faceoff tandem. 

And Yale was 11-2 in late April, well positioned to land a postseason berth before dropping its final two games.

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What went wrong: So. Many. Injuries. Attackmen Leo Johnson and Chris Lyons and midfielder Brad Sharp were among seven starters lost for the season by mid-March, and injuries to Rodriguez and Ramsey contributed to a .284 faceoff percentage over the season’s final four games. 

Yale also had a Princeton problem, namely that it had the same trouble taming the Tigers as it did the year before. Princeton dealt a 15-8 drubbing to the Bulldogs on April 27, then handled Yale 14-10 six days later in the Ivy League tournament.

Season highlight: Keyed by Brandau’s two goals and three assists, Yale got multiple goals from seven players in a 15-13 victory at Denver on March 10 that doubled as the Pioneers’ first loss of the season. Along with Albany, Denver was one of two NCAA tournament teams the Bulldogs defeated this spring.

Verdict: The back-to-back losses to Princeton had to leave an uneasy feeling for Yale, but considering all the injuries, it was remarkable the Bulldogs were sitting in the top 10 in late April to begin with. It goes down as a rare postseason miss, yet Brandau’s otherworldly season and the depth coach Andy Shay and his staff have built made Yale a tough test to the end.