PHILADELPHIA—Matt Moore rewrote the Virginia men’s lacrosse history books and the defense shut down one of the nation’s most potent offenses on Monday as the Cavaliers topped Yale, 13-8, to claim their first national championship since 2011.
Yale scored 26 goals in the first quarters of its previous three NCAA Tournament games, but through the opening 15 minutes on Monday in Lincoln Financial Field, Virginia held the Bulldogs to just one.
Things didn’t get much better for the defending national champions from there.
The Bulldogs went into the title game ranked No. 2 in the country with 15.94 goals a game, and their previous low was 10 in a season-opening loss to Villanova. Yale’s offense has been so hot this postseason that late in the fourth quarter it broke UVa’s record of 66 goals during its 2006 NCAA Tournament.
On Monday, though, the Bulldogs netted just two goals by halftime and Virginia’s defenders forced 14 of Yale’s 19 turnovers.
Yale—the defending national champion – went more than 16 minutes without a goal in the first half. And those two were scored on a man-up situation and on an empty net with UVa goalie Alex Rode behind the cage tussling for a loose ball.
Two days after posting 19 saves in the Cavaliers’ Final Four win over Duke, Rode stopped nine shots. He finished Monday’s season finale with 13 saves.
On the offensive end, Moore led Virginia with four goals and one assist. He scored Virginia’s first two goals, and the second moved him past former Cavalier Doug Knight for most points in a season. Moore finished his sophomore year with 89 points (46 goals, 43 assists).
Virginia’s lead grew to 4-2 with 6:35 left in the opening half after back-to-back netters by Michael Kraus. Dox Aitken and Petey LaSalla then scored eight seconds apart to stretch Virginia’s run in the second quarter to four unanswered goals and send the Wahoos into halftime with a 6-2 advantage.
LaSalla only won three faceoffs through the first two quarters while Yale’s TD Ierlan – the top faceoff specialist in the country – went 6-for-10. LaSalla finished the game with four wins while Ierlan had 16, but the Cavaliers’ freshman finished two of his wins with goals. His second gave UVa a 10-4 lead early in the third quarter.
Kraus finished with three goals, while Aitken added two. Matt Brandau and Jack Tigh led Yale with three each.