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Bulldogs Fall To Virginia in National Title Game

John McCreary image
John McCreary image

5-Goal Run in the 3rd Clinches Game for Cavs


PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The Bulldogs came within a game of successfully defending their national championship today. No. 5 Yale ran into a hot goalie and a sharp-shooting offense, falling 13-9 to No. 3 Virginia in the NCAA Championship Game at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Elis (15-4), who had their national tournament win streak end at 7 games, had to face an ACC team with plenty of championship experience (5 national titles) and a current, 7-game win streak. A five-goal third quarter put the game away for Virginia (17-3), which had a huge portion of the 31,528 fans.

The first Yale-UVA meeting in 28 years produced a combined 35 turnovers and 94 ground balls. Eleven of the Yale ground balls came from TD Ierlan, who won 18 of 24 faceoffs and showed why he is a finalist for the 2019 Tewaaraton Award Finalist. The junior All-American now has 749 career ground balls and is 4 shy of the NCAA record.

There were some other bright spots today for the Bulldogs, who established a NCAA Championship record for most goals scored by a team with 68 over the 4 games.

Meanwhile, attackman Matt Brandau, the most prolific rookie in Yale Lacrosse history, scored 3 goals and had 5 points. He finished the weekend with 10 goals and 13 points while earning a spot on the All-Tournament Team along with Ierlan.  

The defending champs looked like they might get ignited by the national anthem fireworks, but that success was short lived. Jack Tigh gave the Blue its only lead of the game a few minutes after the opening face-off, and Yale fans probably thought they might see the type of fast start that gave the Elis a 10-1 lead against No. 1 Penn State on Saturday. However, the Cavs scored 6 of the next 7 and the Bulldogs could get no closer than 2 goals early in the third quarter.

Yale, which wasn't coming up with the 50-50 balls, just had too many possessions nullified by turnovers and impressive Alex Rode saves. The UVA goalie made enough quality stops to make the difference today.

At the other end of the field, Yale goalie Jack Starr (9 saves) kept the game close with some big stops of his own.

Yale head coach Andy Shay, whose squad put up with the burden of being the team to beat all season, put the day into perspective.

"I got up this morning, and I had to remind myself that if you lose a lacrosse game today, it's not that big of a deal relative to people who have lost their lives for our country. This is really hard. Saying goodbye to this class and all that. But at the end of the day it's still a game, and at the end of the day I get paid to do this in this country because of people who gave their lives. So it's probably not that big of a deal, but it hurts in the moment, so I wanted to mention that on Memorial Day."


Contact: Steve Conn, Yale Athletics Communications –