PHILADELPHIA, PA. 5/25/2019 – The championship match has been set. The defending national champion Yale Bulldogs, a 5th seed, will play the 3rd seeded Virginia Cavaliers. Yale advanced with a 21 – 17 win over the top seeded Penn State Nittany Lions. Virginia needed two overtime periods to defeat Duke 13 – 12. This will be the 10th appearance for the Cavaliers in the final game. They last won the title in 2011. The Bulldogs won it all last season, but the focus was on this year.
“It was something we tried to stay away from thinking about during the entire season,” said Yale Coach Andy Shay. “The game ended a little bit ago and this is the first I have thought about it. I’m proud of our guys for fighting through this season and put themselves in the position to go to the Final Four. We won a game and now we’ll play on Monday and see what happens.”
Let’s check out the days action.
VIRGINIA 13 DUKE 12 (2 OT)
In a thriller Virginia attackman Ian Laviano scored the game-winner at the 3:09 mark in sudden victory to propel his team past Duke and into the final. Matt Moore got the assist on the first possession of the second four minutes after the Cavs win the face-off. It was the first lead for Virginia since the 4:55 mark of the first quarter when they lead 2 – 1.
“That’s something that me and Matt have connected on before,” said Laviano about the deciding play. “Incredible look by Matt, and I had the easiest part and put it in the back of the net.”
Laviano, who had 4 goals in the contest, a game-high, tied the game at 12 scoring with 14.4 seconds left in regulation. Moore had the assist on that goal as well, giving him 2 for the game in addition to 2 goals. The Cavaliers had a chance when Michel Kraus just missed from the right wing as time ran out.
Duke scored 4 straight goals in the second period and appeared to be on their way to the title match leading 5 – 2 at intermission. Virginia closed to within 8 – 7 after three periods of play. The Blue Devils broke out to a 11 – 8 lead early in the fourth period. The Wahoos fought back getting to within 11 – 10 at the 7:55 mark on a goal by midfielder Dox Aitken, his third of the game to go along with an assist. Duke midfielder Kevin Quigley scored with 1 second left on the shot clock and 1:56 in the game to give Duke some breathing room. It was the second score of the game for Quigley. Kraus found the back of the net at the 45.9 second mark to set up the thrilling finish to the game.
Brad Smith led the Blue Devils with 3 goals and an assist. CJ Carpenter and Joe Robertson each had 2 goals and an assist. Brian Smyth netted 2 goals. Goalie Turner Uppgren made the save 10 times on 53 UVA shots, 23 on net.
Ryan Conrad had 2 goals for Virginia. Goalie Alex Rode made 19 saves facing 48 Duke shots, 31 on goal
It was the first time that the Cavaliers beat the Blue Devils, losing the last 11 times on the field.
YALE 21 PENN STATE 17
The Eli set the tone early scoring on their first three shots en route to a 10 – 2 lead after one quarter. Seven different players scored a goal in the opening 15 minutes. It gave the Bulldogs a lift.
“It does a lot of good things for us,” said Morrill. We started hot moving the ball quickly, but we knew Penn State could come back at any moment. We knew it wasn’t done after the first quarter, so we tried to keep going at it one possession at a time.”
And Penn State did make a run cutting the deficit to 12 – 9 at halftime. Yale had to call on their resolve to stay focused.
“A team like that is so dangerous,” Yale faceoff specialist TD Ierlan said. “For them to cut it to 12 – 9 and us to come out in the second half and play like that was a good step for us. We didn’t want to give up that run, but we knew it would come at some point. I think it showed a lot about us and we’re growing and getting better and hopefully we’re going to get better on Monday.”
In the fourth quarter the Bulldogs opened a 21 – 14 lead with 5:21 to play to take control.
Attackman Mark Brandau had 7 goals which set a freshman record for goals in a game. He assisted once. Morrill added 3 goals and added 2 assists.
Nittany Lion attackman Dylan Foulds led his team with 5 goals. Attackman Grant Ament scored three goals and contributed 5 assists. He totaled 25 points for the tournament which tied him for most points in a single championship series. Ament had 18 assists over the three games which set a record for most assists over a tournament. Mac O’Keefe scored 3 goals all in the first half.
Yale and Penn State combined for 38 goals in the game which set a record for most goals in one game in any round. Syracuse and Johns Hopkins scored 38 goals in their 1994 game won by the Orange 22 – 16.
Monday, Yale and Virginia will meet to decide the 2019 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse championship.
Written By: Glenn Papazian