PHILADELPHIA, PA. 5/27/2019 – In April the University of Virginia celebrated the men’s basketball championship. In May they celebrated the men’s lacrosse title with a 13 – 9 win over the defending champion Yale Bulldogs at the Linc. It was the sixth crown overall for the Cavaliers and the first since 2011.
It would take a solid defensive effort to get the victory. Yale was the second-highest scoring team in the nation. The Bulldogs set an NCAA record for most goals in a single championship tournament getting 68 this year. The Wahoos did that and had goalie Alex Rode who made 13 saves following up on a 19 save performance in the win over Duke. He was named the tournament Most Outstanding Player. The 9 goals was the lowest offensive output of the season for the Eli.
“Yale is a very good offense,” Rode said. “I thought the whole defense just played amazing. They were flying around, D middies and the close defense, just very fortunate to be able to play with that group of guys.”
Matt Moore, from Garnet Valley, led UVa on offense getting 4 goals and an assist. He totaled 89 points this season which set the program record for points in a single season. However, his true objective was realized.
“National championship over everything,” said Moore. “This is an amazing experience. We really came out today, and I feel like we played all four quarters.”
“I feel like our final game, us executing our game plan and just putting in a full four quarters and just playing as a team and our defense flying around getting ground balls, it’s just a perfect ending to a great story. “
Conventional wisdom said that Virginia would need to be close in faceoffs to win. Yale won that battle 19 – 6. Since the Cavaliers would not get the ball to start the possession, they turned to the defense forcing 20 turnovers, 15 caused, to get chances to score. The Eli would successfully clear the ball 15 of 23 times.
Yale started quickly getting the initial goal of the game from Jack Tigh, who had two scores, just under over 2 minutes into the contest. The Bulldogs would not score for the next 16:18 of game time. Moore scored twice giving his team a 2 – 1 lead after one period.
“Alex (Rode) made big saves early, when we made mistakes, when there were openings,” said Virginia Coach Lars Tiffany. “That allowed our defense to grow more comfortable.”
Yale got the first goal of the second quarter on a score by Matt Gaudet, who also had 2 goals in the game. Virginia answered with 4 straight goals to take a 6 – 2 lead into halftime. Michael Kraus had two of his three goals in that span. Villanova resident Dox Aitken, who had 2 goals, scored. Faceoff specialist Petey LaSalla scored off a faceoff.
The Bulldogs netted the first two goals of the third quarter to pull to within 6 – 4.
“We just wanted to come out of the half and show our fight,” said Yale senior midfielder John Daniggelis. “We knew that we had 30 minutes to try to change the outcome and we wanted to come out strong in the second half. Unfortunately it didn’t go our way.
The Cavaliers had an answer in the form of a run of 5 goals to take an 11 – 4 advantage which equaled their largest lead. Moore had 2 goals along with another faceoff score by LaSalla.
Matt Brandau led Yale with 3 goals and 2 assists. The Bulldogs finish the year with a 15 – 4 record.
Virginia ends the season with at 17 – 3. They also conclude 2019 with the Championship trophy.
“So we saw Tony Bennett do it this year,” Tiffany said about winning titles at Virginia. “You’re provided what you need to win. Achieving this is a realistic objective. It’s not a fantasy.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian
The All-Tournament Team
Alex Rode – UVA (MOP)
Matt Brandau – YALE
Dox Aitken – UVA
TD Irelan – YALE
Grant Ament – PSU
Ryan Conrad – UVA
Matt Moore – UVA
Ian Laviano – UVA
Cade Saustad – UVA
Brad Smith – DUKE