A Champion Is Crowned

Philadelphia, PA– Memorial Day weekend means a lot of different things to a lot of people. It is a time to reflect on those that gave the ultimate sacrifice to allow everyone else to enjoy the lives they live. For some it is a trip to the beach or to the pool. Others visit with family and friends around the grill. However, for approximately 82,000 people, it is also a time to celebrate the sport they love….Lacrosse.

The NCAA men’s lacrosse championships have been played on Memorial Day weekend for as long as I have been a lacrosse fan. Before joining the media ranks, I attended several championship weekends as a fan. It has been a lifetime of memories for me, my dad, and my brother. In 2003, we enjoyed watching Virginia play in the mud of M&T Bank Stadium (then PSINet) in Baltimore. In 2010, it was the excitement of C.J. Costabile scoring 5 seconds into overtime to win Duke a national championship. 2017 saw the culmination of a lifetime of lacrosse fandom when the Maryland Terrapins won their first title since 1975.

2019 has been a thrilling year for lacrosse fans at any level. Parity seemed to be the theme across all three NCAA divisions. In Division II Merrimack won back to back titles as a send off to Division I. However, it was not without tests along the way. Division III saw a first time champion as Cabrini won the title in front of a hometown crowd. The Division I tournament featured 5 overtime games to lead us to today’s National Championship game between the University of Virginia and defending champs, Yale University.

Yale got things started off two minutes into the game off a Jack Tigh (2G) extra man goal. Moments later, Virginia would answer back as Matt Moore (4G, 1A) took it by himself from the X to tie the game at one. As the team’s settled in to the game, Virginia decided to work bottom to top from the offensive end. This allowed Moore to get his second goal of the game by slipping into the dirty zone and get a below goal line pass from Mikey Herring (1 A) to send the Cavalier’s up 2-1.

In the second quarter it was Yale scoring first. Virginia goalie Alex Rode (8 GA, 13 Saves) came out of the net to double a loose ball, however, Matt Brandau (3G, 2A) won the battle and fed Matt Gaudet (2G) to tie the game at 2. Virginia would not let the game stayed tied very long. Michael Kraus (3G) beat his defender with an over the shoulder shot to put the Cavalier’s up 3-2. Virginia was add another goal by Kraus as he as able to receive a great feed from Jeff Conner (1A) in the middle of the box to send the Cavalier’s up 4-2 mid-way through the quarter. Virginia would then go on to score two goals in the span of eight seconds of game time. First, it was left handed burner from Dox Aitken (2G) followed by face-off win and goal from Petey LaSalla (2G, 4-17 FO) to send Virginia up 6-2 with just over five minutes to play in the second. The score would stay that way going into the halftime break.

The beginning of the third quarter saw T.D. Ierlan (18-24 FO) win the opening face-off and feed John Daniggelis (1G, !A) who was able to double hop into a time and room shot to score for Yale. Just 45 seconds later, Brandau would find Gaudet and Yale would pull within two. However, Virginia would steal a ground ball just after possession was called on the face-off and Ryan Conrad would march down field and bury the one on one goal to send the Cavalier’s up 7-4. The fourth goal in three minutes was scored by Kraus from Moore to improve Virginia’s lead to 8-4. Moore would continue his involvement in the Cavalier offense scoring his third goal of the game by beating his defender from the X. The ensuing faceoff would be won by LaSalla where he would score his second goal of the day as the Cavalier’s went up 10-4. After a brief injury stoppage, Virginia would use almost all off the shot clock before Moore sent home a sidearm low-to-high bullet for his fourth goal of the game. Yale would get the last possession of the quarter put the ball in Brandau’s stick. The Boy’s Latin product was able to avoid and over the head check and put the ball past Alex Rode for this first goal of the game with .4 seconds left on the clock.

Going into the final quarter of play, Virginia lead the game at 11-5. Aitken would get the scoring started in the 4th, running down the right side to get his second goal of the day, increasing the Virginia lead to 12-5. However, Yale would win the ensuing faceoff and work the ball to Brandau, who was able to catch and step into his shot. Mid-way through the quarter Yale’s Jackson Morrill (1A) would find Lucas Cotler (1A) open in the middle of the field to pull the Bulldogs within 5. Brandau would continue the comeback notching his third goal of the game. However, time would be on the Cavalier’ side as they were able to hold the ball most of the final 3 minutes and getting an additional goal from Ian Laviano (1G), who had the goalie out playing defense on him. Yale would notch one more goal with 6.8 seconds left in the game as Virginia switched goalies. The final score was 13-9 as Virginia was crowned the 2019 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Champions for the sixth time in program history.

–Jared Welsh–

NCAA Championships: More Than The Games

Philadelphia, PA — If you have ever thought about going to the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championships, you should. Five games over the span of three days, that incorporate all three divisions. While most people head to the beach or the pool for Memorial Day weekend, lacrosse junkies from all over the country flock to the site of the 3-day event. This year Drexel hosted the event at Lincoln Financial Field, the home of the Philadelphia Eagles. Fans started descending onto Broad St. at 9:00 in the morning on Saturday to set up their tailgates and take part in Fan Fest. After getting checked in and set up in the media room, my broadcast partner, Rocco Granato and I headed out to check out the festivities.

We saw the normal tailgating you would expect at any day long lacrosse event, however, it was Penn State that surprised us. Just off of the Fan Fest area was a large, penned off tailgate area. A DJ, BBQ, couches, large jenga and connect four and other party games are all laid out around the tailgate area. The outskirts of this special tailgate is surrounded by more Penn State tailgaters that have set up smaller parties around it to make the entire parking lot feel like one big Nittany Lion event.

Before entering the official Fan Fest area, we caught up with Lyle and Miles Thompson at the back of a vendor booth taking picture and signing autographs for everyone that walked by. Once we walked into the Fan Fest area, you could start to feel the excitement of the lacrosse world assembling in one place. The customary radar gun was set up in the front of the Fan Fest, which attracts the largest crowd as everyone wants to test their skills against their friends. Buffalo Wild Wings was set up with the National Championship Trophy and photo booth that allowed fans to get up close and personal with the hardwood. US Lacrosse was set up just behind them with the FIL World Championship plaque and Blaise Riordan signing autographs and taking pictures. Meanwhile, the National Lacrosse League had Philly native Matt Rambo at their booth. Over on the main stage, Paul Rabil and Trevor Baptiste were getting the crowd hyped for the Premier Lacrosse League and giving away freebies. The NCAA also brought the teams to the fans with a booth that included the teams of the event. When we walked by, the entire Amherst team was there to sign autographs. Amherst will be playing in their first NCAA Championship game on Sunday for Division III.

Located in another parking lot, across the street from the official Fan Fest site, was another area with vendors. Major League Lacrosse was set up with their trailer and autograph booth. The MLL also went to the local lacrosse talent with Niko Amato, goalie for the Chesapeake Bayhawks and Philly native in attendance. Maverick, Cascade, and East Coast Dyes all had tents in this area and, of course, a radar gun was set up. As we were walking around the parking area we also came across Chris Schiller of Crown Lacrosse and Penn State Alum, and Johnathan Christmas of Uganda Lacrosse and Virginia Alum. At an event like this, you have to keep your head on a swivel, for lacrosse balls, and for lacrosse celebrities. This weekend is no doubt about crowning 3 NCAA Champions, but it is also about growing the sport and fan interaction. If you do not take advantage of the full day of activities, you are missing out on a great experience.

–Jared Welsh–

Mammoth Fall 10-9 in Overtime Thriller

For the final time in the regular season, and possibly the final time this year, the Colorado Mammoth took the floor at the Pepsi Center in front of a strong Loud House crowd. Following the team’s loss to Saskatchewan last week, the team had another chance to clinch an NLL Playoff berth win a win tonight. Unfortunately, the Mammoth dropped a tough overtime decision to Rochester and will have to wait a little longer to secure a spot in the postseason.

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Colorado Drops 9-7 Contest to Saskatchewan

The Mammoth had a chance to clinch a playoff berth with a win tonight. One win, that’s all they had to do to secure a playoff spot.

On the surface, that seemed like an easy proposition. In reality though, the Mammoth had the odds stacked against them heading into tonight, and it’s all because of the team they were playing against: the Saskatchewan Rush. Colorado hasn’t beaten Saskatchewan in over two years. In fact, the Mammoth have only won 17 of 41 total matchups against the Rush. Simply put, this is a team that always has Colorado’s number, and tonight was no exception.

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Mammoth Run Past Vancouver en route to 3rd Straight Victory

Sometimes, the NLL schedule can be brutal.

Friday night’s game in Vancouver ended with a Mammoth victory at 11:02pm local time. The team likely got to the hotel slightly before 1am Saturday morning. Mammoth players and staff then woke up just two hours later and packed the busses before heading to the airport to catch their flight. The team landed in Colorado at 10am(MT) and took the floor at the Pepsi Center just nine hours later to do it all over again against the same Vancouver Warriors team.

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