The 2019 National College Lacrosse League Tournament kicked off bright (actually cloudy) and early this past Saturday in Annapolis, Md. Sixteen of the top 140 lacrosse teams in the NCLL met to determine who will reign as Division 1 and 2 NCLL National Champions. Here’s breakdown of how the Elite Eight and Final Four Tourneys played out.
Division II Elite 8
West Chester vs Kentucky
In the opening contest of the Division II Elite 8 Tournament, the Kentucky Wildcats gave the #2 ranked West Chester Golden Rams all they could handle before falling 9-8. West Chester quickly shot a- head 4-2 in the first quarter before teams traded goals for much of the remaining 3 quarters. Kentucky net-minder Cameron McMillan played out of his mind, making a tournament high 16 saves to keep the Rams from blowing the game wide open.
Wildcat Freshmen midfielder Jack Lenehan, scored his 2nd goal of the game midway through the 4th quarter to give Kentucky a short lived 8-7 lead. But West Chester quickly responded with goals from Ty Thornton (2g), and Zach Shulz to give the Liberty Conference Champs the opening round win.
Austin Sensenig added 2 goals and 2 assists for the Rams, while Chris Warner added a goal and 3 assists.
Kentucky face-off man Chip Whittington won over 60% of his draws on the day.
UMBC vs Providence
In what would be the highest scoring game of the weekend, the Friars and Retrievers filled the nets for a total of 27 goals, with the #1 ranked Friars pulling away late in the 4th quarter for the 18-11 win. Senior midfielder Jack Cahill scored an incredible 8 goals to pace Providence, while Peter Sullivan added 4 of his own.
UMBC took a 9-8 lead into the 3rd quarter before Providence outscored the Retrievers 9-2 in the final 30 minutes. Providence managed to hold UMBC’s other hard shooting midfielder, Nate Chen to just 2 assists.
Despite another strong game at the face-off X from Retriever Jake Brothers (3 goals), the Friars managed to pepper UMBC net-minders Jake Troy and Blake Hipsley with 35 shots in all.
Binghamton vs CNU
Thomas O’Brien buried a feed from Stephen Petrelli late in the final quarter to give Binghamton a thrilling 12-11 win over Christopher Newport in early morning action on Saturday. The duo had previously combined for a goal that had broken a 9-9 tie. CNU had built a 5-1 lead thanks to 3 goals by Sam Houle, before Binghamton responded with a 4 goal run of their own. Neither team lead by more than 2 goals until the final whistle.
Alec Garber netted 3 goals for CNU, while Brett Clark added 4 points (2g, 2a). Austin Dieroff added 2 goals for Bingamton who received goals from 8 different players.
Akron vs Kutztown
Kutztown Junior Zach Getchius scored 5 goals, 4 in a row at point, to lead the Golden bears over the Akron Zips by the score of 11-7. Bears goalkeeper Mark Frederickson was instrumental as well, adding 14 saves for the Keystone Conference Champions.
Akron’s 7-5 halftime lead quickly eroded as the Zips couldn’t contain Getchius in the 2nd half, who scored 4 of his goals off unassisted solo dodges.
Christian Stowe and Don Fagan added a pair of goals each for the Zips, who finish the year at 6-3.
Division 1 Elite 8
Towson vs Penn State
The Towson Tigers held the Nittany Lions to zero goals in the 2nd half of their opening round contest, to take a convincing 10-6 win. The lions had built a 6-3 lead at the half, thanks to goals by Will Corbi (2g), Hunter Revord (2), Alex Muller and Sal Pollastro. Penn State entered this years tournament ranked in the top 5, with only 1 loss (Navy 10-12) on the year.
Towson’s second half offense was fueled by Nick Holland (2g), Corey Curran (2g) and Pete Geier. Towson goalkeeper Zach Peters was solid between the pipes, finishing with 12 saves.
Maryland vs Temple
In what turned out to be the final NCLL game for the University of Temple, the Owls fell to the 2nd ranked Terps, 12-7. The loss marks the 2nd year in a row that the Owls drew the Terps in the opening round.
Maryland raced out to a 6-0 lead with goals coming from 6 different Terps. The Owls were never able to mount much of an offensive push until late in the game when Scott Thompson scored 3 goals for the Owls. Bailey Haines added 3 goals for Temple as well, finishing his career as the Owls all time leading goal scorer (71).
Andrew Skiscim and Russell Altwin paced the Terps with 2 goals each.
Navy vs Michigan
The topped ranked and undefeated Midshipmen weren’t very polite hosts to the visiting Wolverines, handing them a 20-7 opening round loss. Navy enjoyed a 12-2 halftime lead and somehow manged to drop another 7 goals on Michigan in the final quarter for good measures. Connor Young did some heavy damage on the Wolverines, netting 5 goals while Kye Coolbaugh added a goal and 3 assists.
Despite the lopsided score, Michigan’s Noah Gago impressed all with a 4 goal showing against a very physical Navy defense.
Virginia vs Fairfield
One of the biggest surprises of the 2019 season was the success of the Fairfield Stags. The Stags posted a 9-1 record during the regular season and were the only team to defeat Providence during the year. Virginia began the season ranked #1 in the NCLL preseason poll before a couple of surprising losses dropped them out of the top 10 for much of the year.
Virginia’s Hayes Taibl scored 3 of the Cavaliers first 5 goals, as Fairfield quickly dug themselves a huge whole in the first half. After UVA’s Robbie Berndt netted 2 goals to make it 7-2 Cavs, the Stags went on a 4 goal run to close the gap to within 1, at 7-6. McKay Sheahan lead the Stag charge with 2 goals, while Jared Kuehner, Danny Villeneuve and Matt Moody all scored on unassisted dodges to shrink the gap to 1 goal.
But UVA’s Kevin Danforth scored unassisted to make it 8-6 and Cavalier goalie Dave Pyle took over from there, securing Virginia’s first round win.
Division II Final Four
West Chester vs Binghamton
Binghamton, the Cinderella team of the Division II bracket, saw their championship dreams abruptly ended by West Chester in game 1 of the DII Final Four. Lead by Ty Thornton’s 4 first half goals, the Golden Rams built a solid 9-2 lead before the Bearcats could get anything going offensively.
Pat McDonaugh netted 5 goals for the Bearcats in the 2nd half, as they managed to climb back to a respectable 12-8 deficit. But the Rams managed to score 2 more late goals by Will Ward and Steve Roda (3g) to seal the 14-8 victory and ensure their trip to the DII Finals.
Providence vs Kutztown
The topped ranked Friars took full advantage of their considerable numbers versus Kutztown, who traveled to Annapolis with roughly 6 subs, an issue that had plagued the Golden Bears all season. Providence built a 7-0 1st quarter lead before Kutztown found the nets. Unfortunately for Keystone Conference champs, that would be their only goal of the game. Providence would pile on 8 more goals before the game was complete. John Paul Adams lead the Friars with 4 goals while Andrew Brooks and Peter Sullivan added 2 goals each.
Casey Hesdon scored the loan goal for Kutztown.
A big story of the game was the leg injury suffered by Friars midfielder Jack Cahill early ion quarter number one. Cahill did not return to the game and his status for the Championship game remained in question.
Division I Final Four
Towson vs Maryland
For the 3rd time this season the Towson Tigers found themselves looking across the substitution box at Chesapeake Conference rival Maryland. In both previous encounters the Terps came away with wins but with a bad loss to JMU on the Terps resume’ and a close call against Rutgers, the Tigers had to be feeling good about their chances this time a round.
But the Terps came to Annapolis with all aspects of their game in top form, as they built a 6-1 lead by halftime and never let off the gas. The Maryland defense and goalie Joe Reilly held a potent Towson offense to just 3 goals on the evening.
On offense, the Terps were lead by attackman Andrew Skiscim’s (3g) and Matt Granger (2g).
Pete Geier, Mike Herkert and Nick Holland accounted for the Tigers 3 goals.
Virginia Vs Fairfield
In a rematch of last seasons DI Final, the United States Naval Academy get their revenge with an 11-6 over Virginia, the defending National Champs. Navy lead 8-1 in the 3rd quarter when UVA began to show signs of life. The Cavaliers went on a late 6-0 run to pull within 1 goal of navy, 8-7. Kye Coolbaugh’s goals gave the Midshipmen a 2 goal edge at 9-7 before Connor Young netted his 3rd and 4th goals of the game to close the door on the Cavaliers.
Robbie Berndt lead UVA with 3 goals.
All of our Elite 8 and Final Four Photos can be found here.
Additional photos were provided by Tony Bellotte at Raw Photos. See more of his work right here.