Memorial Day weekend isn’t only a time to spend with family at barbecues. It’s also a time to watch college lacrosse. The men’s college lacrosse championship games occurred at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia May 25. The final four teams were Penn State University (No. 1 in the country), Yale University (No. 5 in the country), University of Virginia (No. 3 in the country) and Duke University (No. 2 in the country).
The first matchup was a thriller between Atlantic Coast Conference rivals Duke and Virginia. Prior to this game, the Blue Devils had won 11 straight against Virginia. However, Virginia switched the script on Saturday, pulling out a 13-12 win in double overtime. Sophomore Ian Laviano was superb for Virginia, finishing with a game high of four goals. The victory did not come without dramatics though. The Cavaliers trailed by two goals with just 46 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, but Laviano was not ready for the season to end, as he sprinted the length of the field and scored a goal with 15 seconds left, sending the game into overtime. The first overtime was a back-and-forth battle, but neither team was able to gain an advantage. The game-winning goal did not come until the third minute of the second overtime, scored by none other than sophomore standout Laviano, sending the Cavaliers to the National Championship game.
The second semifinal game was played between Penn State and Yale. Penn State was the top ranked team after a fairy-tale season that saw them win their first tournament game in school history. Still, their only loss of the season had come weeks earlier to none other than Yale. Once again, the Bulldogs outdueled the Nittany Lions and punched a ticket to their second straight National Championship game. Yale put on a clinic in the first quarter, scoring 10 goals while only giving up two. Penn State’s vaunted offense then made a run of their own in the second quarter, scoring seven goals to pull within three. Unfortunately, the second half saw Yale outscore Penn State nine goals to eight, winning by a final score of 21-17. Leading the Bulldogs in scoring was freshman standout Matt Brandau who had seven goals on the day.
On Memorial day, the Yale Bulldogs came up short against Virginia 13-9, as the Cavaliers’ defense was too much for Yale to handle. Leading Virginia was sophomore goalie Alex Rode, who finished the day with 13 saves. Yale went from scoring 21 goals in the semifinal to being neutralized in the finals, scoring only nine goals. Virginia’s victory gives the lacrosse team their sixth title.