Elis Beat Brown 10-9 in Title Game
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Bulldogs are Ivy League Tournament Champions for a third straight year and will get a spot in the NCAA Tournament field for a third consecutive season after erasing three deficits to register a 10-9 win over Brown in today's championship contest played before 2,036 at a packed Reese Stadium.
The No. 17 Bulldogs (10-5), who had already earned the regular season Ivy title with a 5-1 mark, managed to end the Bears' win streak at five games by shaking off a 24-minute scoreless streak while coming back from three goals down in the third quarter and holding the vaunted Brown offense – which put together six consecutive goals to take an 8-5 lead - to one goal in the second half.
This contest came down to a few crucial sequences. With the score tied 9-9, Yale freshman Matt Gaudet took a shot from 15 feet away that bounced off the goal post and rebounded back to the Eli attackman. Gaudet scooped the ball off the ground and fired it low into the back of the net with 3:39 left in the fourth quarter.
"I was setting a pick for Ben [Reeves], and he was coming around the back," said Gaudet. "They threw a double at him, and I was coming around the net. I found my first shot, and was luckily able to track it and throw it in the bottom right corner."
That turned out to be the game-winner, but there was still plenty of craziness to follow.
The Bears, who had scored seven straight on Friday to come back and beat Princeton, got a save from their goalie with two minutes left to get a possession and then fired five shots toward Yale goalie Phil Huffard, who finished with 12 saves. 2016 Tewaaraton winner Dylan Molloy fired three of those. On that possession, the Eli goalie saved two, a pair went wide and another hit the pipe.
On the last Brown shot of that series, the Bulldogs won the race for the backup and took the ball hoping to run out the clock. Eric Scott, who had five goals on the weekend, tried to throw it down field but got checked and the ball landed in the stands with six seconds left.
After a timeout, Brown got the ball in tight to Molloy with freshman defenseman Aidan Hynes guarding him. Molloy deked and got between Hynes and Huffard before firing a shot off the right pipe. The defender got his pole on the shooter's stick and the ball bounced in the air. The clock ran out to send the crowd into a frenzy.
"He [Molloy] caught the pass. I had a stick in there," said Hynes, who held the All-American to two goals on 10 shots. "He went left, and I went to trail-check him and missed. He brought it back to his right and I got a piece of it. It was lucky the shot went wide."
Huffard faced 40 shots, but the most heart-stopping ones came over the last minute of play, and with the ball on Molloy's stick.
"With six seconds left, we just wanted to take the body, check his stick. We tried to do everything to prevent him from getting the ball," said Huffard. "He was able to get off a pretty good shot. Luckily it hit the post. He [Hynes] was all over his hands to try to effect the shot."
Ben Reeves, the 2017 Ivy Player of the Year and tournament MVP, scored three straight for Yale and finished with four points. He helped the Blue overcome a dry spell and remain confident.
"We talked about it [the offensive mindset] all week," said Reeves. "We have to stay composed, stay on the same page and we know things are going to fall."
Reeves' first two helped the Elis grow the lead to 5-2 before the hungry Bears charged back. His third goal came in the third quarter, starting a three-goal run that evened things at 8-8. It went Reeves, Gaudet and then Jack Tigh, but Brown once again took the lead back.
The Bulldogs, who have won five of the last six Ivy Tournaments, became the first host school to win the title since Cornell in 2011. Yale, which was hosting for the first time, made a memorable Reese Stadium finale for its senior class.
"What a great college lacrosse game," said Andy Shay, Yale's Ivy League Coach of the Year. "Hats off to Brown, they were great today. This was a back and forth game and I'm very pleased we are still playing."
Ben Reeves (3 goals, 6 shots), Joseph Sessa, Brian Pratt, Eric Scott and Aidan Hynes were named to the all-tournament team… 2017 Tewaaraton Award nominee Ben Reeves now has 108 career goals and passed Adam Puritz '88 for third place at Yale. Reeves' 195 points are 5 shy of first place where Jon Reese '90 sits with 200…. Last spring, Reeves became Yale's first Tewaaraton finalist, but it's only fair to qualify that the award has only existed since 2001…. Aidan Hynes finished the game with five ground balls and three caused turnovers.
By Steve Conn, Yale Associate AD & Sports Publicity Director – firstname.lastname@example.org