Friday Wrap: It's Yale vs. Penn in Ivy League Championship Rematch

PHOTO BY DAVID SCHAMIS

Yale's Matt Brandau dodges against Penn's Brendan Lavelle during an April 2 game which the Bulldogs won 12-11 in overtime.


Penn needed help just to get into the Ivy League men’s lacrosse tournament. It might just win the whole thing.

The fourth-seeded Quakers sure looked the part of a champion Friday, bullying top-seeded Brown on its own field in a 14-9 semifinal victory. Midfielder Sam Handley, the Ivy League Player of the Year, had three goals — twice bulldozing his defender to the turf — and four assists in the win.

Attackman Dylan Gergar scored a game-high five goals and goalie Patrick Burkinshaw made an Ivy League tournament-record 20 saves, as Penn pulled away in the second half after seeing a 6-0 lead evaporate almost entirely.

Brown, ranked No. 5 in this week’s Nike/USA Lacrosse Division I Men’s Top 20, scored five unanswered goals in the second quarter, culminating in blazing fast wing man Trevor Yeboah-Kodie’s jump shot off the faceoff with nine seconds left.

But Penn regained control of the game in the third quarter and never looked back. The Quakers now set their sights on Yale and Sunday’s Ivy League championship game — a rematch of the 2019 final, the last time the conference title was contested. Penn won in overtime. The teams’ last four meetings have been one-goal games. Three went to OT, including the Bulldogs’ 12-11 win April 2 in New Haven.

Yale, the third seed, advanced with a 14-11 win over Cornell earlier in the night, as the top two seeds were eliminated. The Bulldogs shut out the Big Red in the second quarter and sandwiched halftime with a six-goal run — highlighted by a 75-yard bomb by defenseman Chris Fake to beat the 10-man ride on an open net — that spelled the difference.

Cornell rallied to within one in the fourth quarter, but Yale’s Leo Johnson and Matt Brandau connected twice to give the Bulldogs the breathing room they needed. Yale goalie Jared Paquette made 14 saves to preserve the win.

Regardless of the result Sunday, all four Ivy League semifinalists plus Princeton appear destined for the NCAA tournament. They could all get home games, even. It’s been that kind of season for the Ivies after the cancellation of their 2020 and 2021 seasons due to the pandemic.

BU, ARMY PREVAIL IN PATRIOT THRILLERS

While the top two seeds went down at Brown, the Patriot League front-runners survived.

Tommy Borque scored on a left-handed bounce shot with 1:14 remaining in overtime to lift top-seeded Boston University to a 13-12 win over fourth-seeded Lehigh at Nickerson Field.

“There’s definitely pressure,” Borque said on CBS Sports Network. “People are going to be coming for our heads. This is our home field. This is a great emotion we’re feeling right now, ready to prepare for the championship.”

The Mountain Hawks clawed back from a five-goal deficit to force overtime. Justin Tiernan, who made an improbable late-season comeback from a torn ACL he suffered in February, scored a career-high four goals in the loss.

In the nightcap, second-seeded Army dug out of an early hole and rode the hot hand of Tewaaraton Award candidate Brendan Nichtern to a 14-13 win over third-seeded Loyola.

Nichtern had his way with four goals and five assists. He leads the nation with 56 assists this season. A few of them Friday found the sticks of Bobby Abshire (four goals on 4-of-7 shooting) and Jacob Morin (two goals.)

“When my guys are making shots from the outside, it allows me to to get to 5-and-5 and dance a little more,” said Nichtern, whose goal with 1:51 remaining held up as the game-winner.

BU and Army play Sunday for the Patriot League title and automatic qualifier, likely their only path to the NCAA tournament.







HOW THE TOP 20 FARED

No. 12 Penn defeated No. 5 Brown 14-9
No. 6 Yale defeated No. 10 Cornell 14-11
No. 15 Army defeated Loyola 14-13
No. 19 Boston University defeated Lehigh 13-12 (OT)

FULL SCOREBOARD

No. 15 Army 14, Loyola 13 (PL)
No. 19 Boston University 13, Lehigh 12 (OT) (PL)
No. 12 Penn 14, No. 5 Brown 9 (Ivy)
No. 6 Yale 14, No. 10 Cornell 11 (Ivy)

IVY LEAGUE TOURNAMENT
Providence, R.I.

Semifinals:

(3) Yale 14, (2) Cornell 11
(4) Penn 14, (1) Brown 9

Championship Game:

(4) Penn vs. (3) Yale – Sunday, 12 p.m. (ESPNU)

PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT
Boston

Semifinals:

(1) Boston University 13, (4) Lehigh 12 (OT)
(2) Army 14, (3) Loyola 13

Championship Game:

(2) Army vs. (1) Boston University – Sunday, 12 p.m. (CBSSN)

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