The No. 3 seeded Virginia Cavaliers (17-3) captured the program's sixth NCAA title with a 13-9 triumph over No. 5 seeded Yale (15-4), thwarting the Bulldogs' quest for back-to-back titles.
PHILADELPHIA – The No. 3 seeded Virginia Cavaliers (17-3) captured the program’s sixth NCAA title with a 13-9 triumph over No. 5 seeded Yale (15-4), thwarting the Bulldogs’ quest for back-to-back titles in front of 31,528 fans at Lincoln Financial Field. It was UVA’s first NCAA title since 2011 and fifth since 1999.
UVA set the tone early with a 6-2 run that covered the entire first half. The team defensive effort was led by the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, goalie Alex Rode. The sophomore goaltender made eight saves in the first half and 32 total over Championship Weekend. Entering Monday Yale had scored 26 combined goals (8.7 average) in the first quarter of each of the Bulldogs’ three NCAA Tournament game. UVA limited Yale to only one goal in the first quarter on Monday.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After Yale took an early 1-0 lead at 12:59, Matt Moore scored two goals to give UVA a 2-1 lead at 7:50 in the first period. Yale tied the game, 2-2, at 11:41 in the second when there was a dash by Rode and company for a ball behind the crease. The ball took a carom toward Yale’s Matt Brandau who found Matt Gaudet for an open-net score.
UVA retaliated with a 4-0 run going into the intermission to set the tone for the rest of the day. UVA never trailed again. Michael Kraus started the run with back-to-back goals, followed by a Dox Aitken score at 5:11 in the second. Petey LaSalla won the ensuing faceoff and scored unassisted eight seconds later to cap the run and send UVA into the break with a 6-2 lead.
Yale was hot coming out of halftime, cutting UVA’s lead to two goals, 6-4, with 13:51 left in the period. UVA responded with a 5-0 streak that spelled doom for the defending national champions. Ryan Conrad, Kraus, Moore and LaSalla all scored goals in the run, while Moore’s fourth of the game capped the run with 6:43 left in the third quarter.
Yale finished the game on a 5-2 run, but it wasn’t enough as UVA shut the door for the championship.
Alex Rode – UVA (MOP)
Dox Aitken – UVA
Ryan Conrad – UVA
Matt Moore – UVA
Ian Laviano – UVA
Cade Saustad – UVA
Matt Brandau – YALE
TD Irelan – YALE
Grant Ament – PSU
Brad Smith – DUKE
— NCAA Lacrosse (@NCAALAX) May 27, 2019
UVA STAT LEADERS
• A Matt Moore
4 goals, 1 assist
• A Michael Kraus
• M Dox Aitken
• M Petey LaSalla
• GK Alex Rode
• Virginia won its sixth NCAA title in men’s lacrosse and first since 2011. UVA is tied with Princeton for No. 3 all-time with six NCAA titles.
• UVA won the NCAA title and the ACC title in the same season for the first time since 2006.
• UVA is now 52-33 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and 11-13 all-time in the NCAA Tournament Semifinal Round.
• Virginia is 13-5 all-time as the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. UVA has won two of its NCAA titles as the No. 3 seed (1999).
• UVA won 17 games for the second time in program history. It ties the single-season program record wins in a season. The 2006 season went 17-0.
• Matt Moore broke Doug Knight’s (1996) single-season UVA record for points (86). Moore finished 2019 with 89 points (46-43).
• Dox Aitken broke his own single-season UVA record for points by a midfielder (52). His previous record was 51 from last year.
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
“First of all, I’m very grateful to Dom Starsia, the men that I have coached in my first three years for the most part were recruited by Dom. The reason I’m a coach is because of Dom Starsia, having played for him at Brown University in the late 1980s. When you go to Brown University, you graduate not thinking the world needs another lacrosse coach. Most of my fellow alums, we go off and try to save the world, whether it’s Peace Corp, AmeriCorps, nonprofits, other focused organizations. I was a teacher for four years, but it was always in the back of my mind the impact that Dom Starsia made on me and many of my teammates at Brown: Rich Chewy, Tom Dwyer. What he did is he showed us that a coach can make a profound impact on being a better man. So – fast forward, as I decide all right I’m going to give this profession a chance, I would follow him. I would listen to him. He’s been my mentor throughout this. So to follow him in his position and see him as a head coach University of Virginia men’s lacrosse was daunting because of how I credible I think of Dom as a man, as a coach. Today as we sit here, national champions, I continue to owe so much to him because I’m coaching for the most part men he recruited, and Dom knows how to find talent but he also knows how to find people with the right hearts and people who are going to do the right things, and we’ve made a lot of good decisions here in year three off the field and certainly on the field, as you saw today. I’m humbled and incredibly grateful for Dom Starsia in my life. I’m also grateful for having a father and mother who bought a ranch in LaFayette, New York, in Upstate New York. The LaFayette people and the Onondaga people of the Iroquois attend the same school. So I was fortunate to grow up in a setting where lacrosse is very important, and more than just a sport to the Onondaga people. Their cultural values, family values, come through the sport with Onondaga people. How fortunate I am in third and fourth grade as I start becoming aware of more meaning than just the sports themselves of this one sport played at LaFayette that’s different. We played baseball, basketball, football, there was something really, really spiritual and different as we got into the middle school and high school level, so very, very fortunate there. Let’s go to the game now. Fantastic, fantastic performance by Alex Rode. Early on Yale found some openings, and our defense was still getting settled in, trying to figure out who Yale is. With one day to prepare for a team and not a lot of film to watch, it’s a difficult scout for both teams. Alex made big saves early, when we made mistakes, when there were openings. That allowed our defense to grow more comfortable. Logan Greco, Cade Saustad, Kyle Kology, what they did in the close defense and the decision making as the game rolled on, as we attacked, some of the roll backs, when Yale would roll back and we got to put the ball on the ground, the defense grew more and more comfortable being the aggressor.” – Lars Tiffany