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Virginia rallies, upends Duke in double overtime to reach NCAA championship game  3 Weeks ago

Source:   USA Today  

PHILADELPHIA — In what has become a recurring theme for the Virginia men’s lacrosse team, the Cavaliers overcame a fourth-quarter deficit and prevailed in double overtime 13-12.

The victim this time was Duke, which led briefly by four goals midway through the third period and held a 12-10 advantage with less than two minutes left in regulation.

But, as they’ve done several times already this season, the second-seeded Cavaliers (16-3) scored twice late to tie it. Then Ian Laviano converted a perfect pass from Matt Moore to notch the game winner 51 seconds into the second sudden victory period, sending Virginia to its first NCAA championship game since its 2011 title.

“This is the game at its best and obviously a showcase, this type of weekend,” said Cavaliers’ coach Lars Tiffany. “We had another fun one today. Obviously I have talented men, guys who can make plays.”

The third-seeded Blue Devils (13-5) led much of the way. They held the Cavaliers scoreless for a stretch of 21 minutes, 27 seconds of game time that encompassed a 4-0 second quarter. Duke stretched its 5-2 halftime lead to 8-4 on the first of two goals by face-off specialist Brian Smyth. But Cavaliers’ face-off man Petey LaSalla answered eight seconds later to start a three-goal run that pulled the Cavs within 8-7 at the end of the third.

Duke appeared to retake the momentum with goals by Smyth and Kevin Quigley in the first 1:04 of the fourth quarter, but a pair of tallies by Dox Aitken pulled the Cavaliers back within one at 11-10 with 7:55 remaining.

Quigley scored again with 1:56 in regulation with the shot clock running down to give Duke a 12-10 margin. But Michael Kraus made it a one-goal game again with 45.9 seconds to go. A face-off violation gave the Cavaliers the chance to tie it, and Laviano did just that with 14.4 seconds to go, thanks to a terrific pass from Moore.

“They're highly skilled players, and you knew at halftime we weren't going to hold them to 4 goals. We weren't going to hold them to another two in the second half,” said Duke coach John Danowski.  “The hope was that we would have scored a couple more goals, maybe could have cleared the ball a little smarter, toward the end there, but, again, it's not one play that wins or loses one of these games; it's a multitude of plays over the course of 65, 66 minutes today.”

Laviano finished the game with four goals, and Aitken had three goals and an assist. Moore also notched four points with two goals and two assists, and goalie Alex Rode recorded 19 saves. Kraus had a team-high five points on a goal and four assists. Brad Smith paced Duke with three goals and an assist.

“I'm not thinking,” said Laviano  when asked to describe the last play. “That's something that me and Matt have connected on before. Incredible look by Matt, and I just had to do the easiest part and put it in the back of the net.”

The win was the fifth this season for Virginia in which the Cavaliers trailed by multiple goals in the fourth quarter. That list also includes last week’s quarterfinal victory against Maryland, which the Terrapins led 12-7 with 10:38 left in regulation before Virginia scored the game’s final six goals for yet another 13-12 overtime win.

Asked if he was comfortable with his team trailing in the fourth, Tiffany replied, “You should be asking me, ‘Coach, what are you doing the first three quarters? Obviously you have a team that can score in bunches, you can win face-offs in the game, what's wrong with you the first three quarters?’ That's what you should be asking.”

He continued, “I'm going to tell you, I told our guys, Memorial Day Monday, the fourth quarter is the first quarter, can we come out with that type of passion and energy?” 

A dominant first quarter at the face-off X by TD Ierlan and seven goals from Matt Brandau led defending champ Yale to a 21-16 win against top-seeded Penn State in Saturday’s second semifinal at Lincoln Financial Field.

Yale (15-3) built a 10-2 lead after the first quarter as Ierlan won 10-of-13 draws, effectively neutralizing the Nittany Lions’ prolific attack that led the nation in scoring. The Nittany Lions (16-2) rallied in the second period to cut the deficit to 12-9 at intermission, but Penn State could get no closer than three goals the rest of the way. Brandau, who had an assist along with his seven goals, scored three in a row near the midpoint of the fourth quarter that gave the Bulldogs an insurmountable 20-13 cushion, sending much of the mostly pro-Penn State crowd of 32,612 heading for the parking lot. Jackson Morril had five points on three goals and two assists for the Bulldogs. Jack Tigh had two goals and two assists, and Joseph Sessa added a goal with three helpers.

“Penn State should be very proud of the season that they had,” said Yale coach Andy Shay. “Not only that, to be down 10-2 and to fight back like they did, it's just unbelievably impressive, and I kind of felt like it was going to happen the entire way. They're incredibly talented, incredibly well-coached, and they played really hard.”

Despite playing in just three tournament games, Penn State’s Grant Ament matched a record with 25 points in the NCAA tournament, including three goals and five assists in the semifinal loss. Dylan Foulds also had five goals for Penn State. Nittany Lions’ face-off man Gerard Arceri scored three times himself, but his wins against Ierlan at the X were too few and far between.

“I think when you go into a game like this, their offense is so high-powered, and we know our offense can score with anyone,” Ierlan said. “You know there are going to be a lot of face-offs, and you're obviously going to lose some, so you've got to reset and stay focused.”

The Bulldogs finished with a 28-14 edge in face-offs overall. Yale will face Virginia for the title Monday at 1 p.m. ET. The game can be seen on ESPN2.

The 38-goal total matched the record for an NCAA tournament game, set in 1994 in a 22-16 quarterfinal win by Johns Hopkins against Towson.

“I'm really proud of these young men, probably as proud as I've ever been,” said Penn State coach Jeff Tambroni, “based on the way they've handled themselves from Day One and the way they represent such a wonderful institution.”

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