PHILADELPHIA, P.A. — The Virginia Cavaliers are this year’s NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse national champions, as they defeated the Yale Bulldogs 13-9. Virginia’s powerful offense was too much to handle for Yale, as the Bulldogs were down seven goals twice in this game, when they had never been down by more than four goals all season long.
After Yale’s TD Ierlan won the initial face-off, Yale’s offense had a couple good looks at the cage, but UVA’s Alex Rode made two early saves to keep the score knotted at 0. However, despite Rode’s good early start, UVA was called for a penalty & Yale’s Jack Tigh got the first goal of the game with 12:59 left in the first quarter on the ensuing EMO. Yale won the next face-off, but coughed it up on their offensive end, giving UVA its first possession of the contest. Matt Moore capitalized on the opportunity, as he rocketed a shot past Yale’s Jack Starr to get the Cavaliers on the scoreboard and tie the game at 1.
After Yale failed to clear the ball successfully for the second time in the quarter, UVA’s Matt Moore got his second goal of the game off of an assist from Mikey Herring with 7:50 left in the first period to give UVA a 2-1 lead. That would be it for scoring in the first quarter, though, as both teams mostly traded turnovers the rest of the way.
Holding onto the ball was a bit of a issue for both teams in the first period. Yale committed six turnovers (the Bulldogs would have 20 today), while UVA had five of their own (UVA had 15 turnovers in total this afternoon). Yale was definitely having a problem clearing the ball early on as well, as the Bulldogs had three failed clears that first period. One major positive for UVA in the first quarter was that the Cavs were holding their own in the face-off battle. Indeed, Petey LaSalla was 2 out of 4 for UVA versus Yale’s TD Ierlan in the first period, which certainly helped Virginia not fall into an early first quarter deficit like Penn State did on Saturday.
The second quarter started off with a Virginia face-off win, but the Cavs were unable to score to extend their lead. Yale tied it up at 2 off of an open-net goal by Matt Gaudet off of an assist from Matt Brandau, as Rode got caught out of the net trying to help on a double-team. Gaudet’s goal snapped a 16 minutes and 18 seconds scoreless streak for Yale and was the first equal strength goal of the game for the Bulldogs.
Virginia then went on a run after Yale tied the game up. First the Cavs retook the lead thanks to a Michael Kraus goal with 9:25 left in the first quarter. Then they went up by 2 shortly thereafter as Kraus got loose again in front of the cage and buried his second goal of the contest with 6:35 left in the quarter off of an assist from Jeff Conner. After that Dox Aitken put Virginia up 5-2 with his first goal of the game at 5:11 in the second quarter and then Petey LaSalla scored a mere 8 seconds later as he won the face-off versus Ierlan, sprinted down the field, and blasted a shot past Jack Starr to put Virginia up 6-2.
LaSalla’s goal off the face-off would be the last score of the quarter but the 4-0 run by Virginia to close out the half gave the Cavs much needed breathing room and the confidence that this was not going to be a replay of Saturday for Yale. UVA’s Alex Rode had a great second quarter, only letting up the one goal by Yale and finished with five saves in the second quarter, to give him 8 total in the first half.
Yale got things started less than a minute into the second half, as senior John Daniggelis buried his shot to cut the deficit to 6-3. Then Matt Gaudet scored less than a minute later to get the Bulldogs within two. It looked like Yale was going to go on a nice run, but UVA had other plans.
UVA’s Ryan Conrad got the run started by scoring an unassisted goal 17 seconds after Gaudet’s bucket to put UVA up 7-4 with 13:34 left in the quarter. Then Michael Kraus extended UVA’s lead to four a minute and a half later off of an assist from Matt Moore. That was Kraus’ third goal of the afternoon for the Cavaliers. UVA’s second half run continued as Matt Moore got his third score of the game to put the Cavaliers up 9-4 with 10:02 left to play in the third. Seven seconds later, Petey LaSalla put Virginia up by six goals, as he beat Ierlan at the dot, scooped up the ground ball, raced down the field, and rifled a shot past Yale’s Jack Starr. But the Cavs were not finished as Matt Moore got his fourth score of the day with an unassisted goal with 6:43 left in the third quarter.
Matt Brandau would finally put an end to UVA’s run by scoring a goal with less than a second left on the clock in the third quarter. But while Brandau’s goal was important as it stopped the bleeding, UVA still inflicted a great deal of damage in the third period. Indeed, Virginia’s 5-0 run in the third stopped all of Yale’s momentum from earlier in the quarter and even with Brandau’s score, UVA still went into the fourth quarter up six goals on the Bulldogs.
The fourth quarter started out with another Virginia goal as Dox Aitken’s unassisted score put the Cavs back up by seven goals. This was the second time today that Yale was down seven goals; up until this game the biggest Yale deficit in a game this entire season was four goals. Yale quickly cut the deficit back to six as Matt Brandau got his second goal of the day to make the score 12-6 with 12:13 left in the fourth quarter. Yale got another goal four minutes later as Lucas Cotler scored to get Yale within five of UVA, 12-7.
Cotler’s score also gave Yale its 66th goal of the NCAA Tournament which tied the record for most goals in on NCAA. The previous team to score 66 goals in one NCAA Tournament was Virginia in 2006. Yale’s Matt Brandau buried his third goal of the day to make the game 12-8, Virginia. Brandau’s goal broke the record for most goals in one NCAA Tournament giving Yale 67.
Yale had a great look at the goal with 3:40 left in the game, but Alex Rode made a great stop to prevent Yale from cutting the deficit to three. That was Rode’s 12th save of the day, (he would finish with 13). After Rode made his save, Virginia cleared the ball and then Yale was called for two fouls on the same possession, which essentially iced the game for Virginia, as the Cavaliers were able to use the EMO to kill time & then Ian Laviano scored a goal with 1:06 to put Virginia up 13-8.
Yale’s Jack Tigh scored a goal with six seconds left in the quarter get Yale within 4 at 13-9, but by then it was too little too late as the Virginia Cavaliers killed the final seconds on the clock for their sixth NCAA Championship.