Bethany Men’s Lacrosse 2023 Players to Watch
By: Zach Pressnell
Clay Yingling, 5th Year, M
For the previous 4 years, Clay Yingling has been a crucial piece of Bethany Men's Lacrosses’ success, both on and off the field. The entire PAC is going to have to take notice now, as Clay is back for his 5th year, an option given to student-athletes after the Covid-19 shutdown. In his traditional 4 years, he has put together quite a lengthy resume, topped off with 2 All-PAC mentions. As impressive as his career has been, his senior year was easily his most impressive season.
In his senior season, he tallied 39 goals and 16 assists, which is good for 55 points. These stats appear impressive on the surface, but it gets even better with a bit of context. Through his first three seasons, Clay had totaled 32 goals and 15 assists, which totals up to 47 points. That means that in his senior season, he tallied more goals, assists, and points than his first three seasons. Combined.
Clay brings a personality larger than life back to the Bison. His work ethic, communication, and leadership leave nothing to be desired from the Bethany veteran. The 2023 season should be a good one for Clay Yingling. I expect his name to be tied to some awards at the conclusion of the season.
Andrew Smith, 5th Year, G
In lacrosse, a team in only able to go as far as the Goalie goes. For Bethany, this statement runs through 5th Year senior, Andrew Smith. Smith is the engine to the Bison operation. He is one of the best goalies in the PAC. Wait. He is one of the best goalies in ALL of Division 3 lacrosse. The entire country.
Last season, Smith ranked FIRST in the entire country in save percentage (66.3%) and saves per game (22.79). He recorded eight games with at least 20 saves, as well as setting the Bethany single-game record with 35 saves against Westminster. This season, he will shatter the career saves record of 875, as he sits at 840 career saves right now.
Andrew Smith has been named All-PAC in every season he’s been in college, besides the shortened Covid season. He looks to add another All-PAC First Team nod this year, which would cement himself as one of the best and most decorated goalies in the PAC in the 21st Century.
Tyler Britton, Junior, M
Tyler Britton came to the Bethany College campus and instantly made an impact as a freshman. It isn’t often that a freshman will come to campus and make an impact instantly, let alone make an All-Conference team. Britton did both of those things in 2021, when he took the field in 13 games, totaling 28 points, and being named All-PAC Honorable Mention.
Britton has made a tremendous impact on the Bison with his play on the field. In two seasons, he has accumulated 46 goals, 20 assists, and 91 groundballs. But Britton’s impact goes far beyond what the box score will show. He is the epitome of a vocal leader as well as being one of the toughest players on the team, playing through injury without hesitation.
His junior season appears as though it will be his best and most eventful one yet. He is in the best physical and mental shape of his life, prepping for this season. Remember the name: Tyler Britton. It’ll continue being a household name throughout the year.
Christian Funari, Junior, D
Christian Funari is the anchor behind the Bethany defense. He ranks in the top 10 in Bethany history in caused turnovers (2nd, 58 CT) and ground balls (8th, 140 GB). He needs 17 caused turnovers to become the all-time leader in that category. Given that he is just a junior, meaning he has two years remaining, maybe three because of the Covid 5th year option, Funari should shatter that record.
Funari is a 2-time All-PAC Honorable Mention recipient. This season, he eyes the potential to be selected to the first or second team, which would continue to build his lengthy resume. It isn’t often that a player is able to be selected to an All-Conference team during every season of their career, but Funari has that capability. I definitely see him making waves in the PAC this spring for the Bison.