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Bulldogs Beat No. 1 Penn State in NCAA Semi

John McCreary image
John McCreary image

No. 5 Yale to Face No. 3 Virginia on Monday


PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - The Bulldogs have an opportunity to defend their 2018 national championship on the final day of the 2019 college lacrosse season. Eleven different players scored goals, including seven from rookie Matt Brandau, and Tewaaraton Finalist TD Ierlan won 28 face-offs and scooped 20 ground balls as the Yale Lacrosse Team defeated No. 1 Penn State, 21-17, in the national semifinals today at Lincoln Financial Field.


The Elis (15-3) earned a national championship game appearance against No. 3 Virginia (15-3) Monday at 1 p.m. by jumping out to an early lead, withstanding multiple offensive surges from the nation's top scoring team and then cruising to a four-goal victory.


"I'm really proud of our guys for fighting through this season and putting themselves in a position to go to the final four, and they won a game and now we're in a position to defend it," said Yale Head Coach Andy Shay. "We're going to try to attack these guys [Virginia] and do our best on Monday."


A record-breaking start helped the Elis take a 10-2 lead into the second quarter. The team in blue jerseys broke its record for goals in a quarter when seven different players tallied as Yale notched nine of the first 10 goals. The Bulldogs were buzzing out of the locker room, finding the net on their first three shots and five of the first seven. Ierlan captured 10 of 13 on the X in the first to ignite the offense.


"I think it [all the different scorers] speaks to our depth," said Shay. "We also have high-character kids who are okay with other people having a little bit of the spotlight. They'll share the ball, and whoever is on the end of the chain that gets the goal, they're just happy we scored."

Not all the Yale scoring was coming off face-off wins. First-year defenseman Bryce De Muth came off the bench to cause a turnover and grab the ball, leading to a Joseph Sessa (4 points) bouncer to make it 6-1.


Not all the Bulldog scoring came from the starters. When Brandau went out with an injury, senior Brendan Rooney stepped up and converted a nice pass from Luke Eschbach in the third quarter to give the Blue a 15-10 lead. Much to the delight of his teammates and Yale fans, the rookie attackman returned to score 4 goals in the fourth quarter and help close the deal.


Not all the Eli highlights came on the offensive side of the field. Sophomore goalie Jack Starr came up with consecutive saves in the fourth quarter with the game still in the balance, while classmate Brian Tevlin (2 points) caused three PSU turnovers. In addition, senior defenseman Robert Mooney had 3 ground balls and a pair of caused turnovers.  


Today was also another great day for junior attackman Jackson Morrill, who had 3 goals and 2 assists while serving as the offensive catalyst. He scored 52 seconds into the game, setting the tone for the historic run.


"I think it does a lot of good things for us," Morrill said about his team's fast start. "We started moving the ball quick and we knew Penn State could come back 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. I think we did a good job of that today."


Virginia, which last faced Yale in 1991, beat No. 3 Duke 13-12 in double overtime in the first semifinal.



The Elis handed the Nittany Lions their only losses in 2019… Jackson Morrill passed Jon Reese '90 on Yale's career points list today with his 5 points. He now has 204 in three seasons… Yale has won 7 straight NCAA Tournament games… Matt Brandau's 7 goals are a school rookie record, surpassing his 6-goal total earlier this season… Yale has met UVA once in the national tournament, a 10-9 double OT win for the ACC school in 1988… Jack Tigh (4 points) and Matt Gaudet (2 goals) also had solid showings today... With today's performance, TD Ierlan broke his own single-season win record and now has 375 this spring. He also smashed his own ground ball record from 2018.



Contact: Steve Conn, Yale Athletics Communications –