Sunday Wrap: BU Beats Army for First Patriot League Title

PHOTO BY KYLE PRUDHOMME/BU ATHLETICS

Matt Hilburn (33) celebrates after one of his two goals Sunday in Boston University's 14-10 win over Army in the Patriot League championship game at Nickerson Field.


Boston University has had plenty of star power come through its program over the last nine seasons. Christian Carson-Banister, James Burr, Cal Dearth, Chris Gray and Reece Eddy all left their mark on the program since its 2014 debut.

What the Terriers lacked, coach Ryan Polley said in advance of this Patriot League men’s lacrosse tournament, was a winning pedigree. “I don’t think we had a bad culture,” he said. “I just don’t think we had a championship one.”

They have that now. And they have the hardware to show for it.

BU never trailed, scored four unanswered goals to end the third quarter and caused 14 of Army’s 24 turnovers in a 14-10 victory over the Black Knights in the Patriot League championship game Sunday at Nickerson Field. The Terriers clinched the first NCAA tournament berth in program history and will await the announcement of their first-round opponent during the selection show (9 p.m. ET, ESPNU).

“It’s taken a long time to get here,” Polley said on CBS Sports Network. “What a feeling.”







Attackman Timmy Ley scored four goals and long-stick midfielder Roy Meyer, the NCAA leader in caused turnovers, picked up six more in the win. Goalie Matt Garber made 15 saves.

While BU also committed 20 turnovers in the game, the Terriers (12-4) were the more disruptive team. Army went just 15-for-22 (68 percent) on clears and squandered a five-goal performance by Reece Burek.

“Our ride at the end was incredible,” Polley said. “We kept getting more possessions. We talked about it yesterday. We’re at our best when we’re creating possessions.”

Tewaaraton candidate Brendan Nichtern had two goals and four assists, surpassing the 100-point mark for the season. But it was not enough for Army (12-4), nor will its resume be strong enough for consideration of an NCAA tournament at-large bid.

PENN REPEATS AS IVY LEAGUE CHAMP

Penn is playing with some major mojo right now.

The fourth-seeded Quakers repeated as Ivy League champion in convincing fashion Sunday, blowing out third-seeded and No. 6 nationally ranked Yale 16-9 in Providence, Rhode Island. Penn also defeated Yale in the 2019 final. There were no Ivy League games in 2020 or 2021 due to the pandemic.

Six different players scored at least two goals for the Quakers, led by midfielder Sam Handley (three goals, two assists) and attackman Dylan Gergar (four goals, two assists). Goalie Patrick Burkinshaw was lights out again, making 16 saves after finishing with 20 in Penn’s semifinal win over top-seeded Brown. The Virginia transfer’s 36 saves are a new Ivy League tournament record.

The Quakers (10-4) scored two goals before halftime and five unanswered goals to start the third quarter to break open the game after it was tied at 4. The Bulldogs (11-4) never recovered from the 7-0 run. Penn punctuated the third quarter with Ben Smith’s buzzer-beater following a pair of Burkinshaw saves in the final minute.

Attackman Matt Brandau led Yale with four goals and an assist in the loss.

Thus a riveting Ivy League comeback campaign ends with Penn again at the mountaintop — and with the assurance that at least five Ivy League teams will hear their name called when the NCAA tournament field is unveiled later Sunday.

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