Yale captures first NCAA lacrosse title

Duke falls, 13-11, before nearly 30,000 fans at Division 1 championship game at Gillette Stadium

Raider Times photo / Declan Gallagher
Members of the Yale lacrosse team can't hide their feelings after beating Duke, 13-11, to win the NCAA Division 1 lacrosse title at Gillette Stadium on May 28, 2018.

Declan Gallagher and Giovanni Reyes

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FOXBOROUGH — The NCAA Division 1 lacrosse championship game was a battle of two heavyweights. Yale and Duke squared off Monday, May 28, and when the final whistle blew, Yale secured its first NCAA title. Almost 30,000 fans were in attendance at Gillette Stadium to see Yale win, 13-11. It was a thrilling back-and-forth game on a cool Memorial Day.

A flyover kicked off the festivities in celebration of Memorial Day and the championship game. The Green Mountain Boys from the 158th Fighter Wing of the Vermont Air National Guard stationed in Burlington, Vt., flew two F-16s over Gillette Stadium at the end of the singing of the national anthem.  An exhilarating start to what would be a memorable Memorial Day for these teams and fans of lacrosse.

Raider Times photo / Declan Gallagher
The Yale lacrosse team holds the newly won NCAA trophy after beating Duke, 13-11, to win the Division 1 lacrosse title at Gillette Stadium on May 28, 2018.

Yale came out swinging and scored three goals in the first quarter of play, and finished ahead two goals at the end of the first quarter. Freshman goalie Jack Starr for Yale was impressive and calm under pressure throughout the game. Small in size, he came up big with some quality saves against the Duke Blue Devils.

Duke pulled back into the game in the second quarter, but played from behind the whole game. Duke appeared to be on its heels chasing Yale, which is not how Duke usually plays. Yale controlled the pace, winning faceoffs and ground balls, which, in turn, helped them pace the game and remain in control. At halftime, Yale took a two-goal lead to the locker room, 6 to 4.

The third quarter started and Yale again struck first. Duke responded with a push of its own. The third quarter saw a total of 11 goals scored. It was a high-paced, offensive quarter. So much fun for all those able to watch these two tremendous teams leaving it all on the field.

Raider Times photo / Declan Gallagher
Duke’s Brian Smyth (left) fights Yale’s Conor Mackie (21) for the ball during the NCAA Division 1 lacrosse championship game May 28, 2018, at Gillette Stadium.

Fatigue was sure to set in given the pace of the game, and in the fourth and final quarter Yale was able to hold off the Duke push and came away with the trophy.  It was a thrilling game to watch, and to witness history in the making for the Yale program.

Yale was led by senior captain Ben Reeves and sophomore Matt Gaudet. Both players credited the team’s success with hard work, dedication, and paying attention to the fundamentals of lacrosse. Yale was the first Ivy League champions since Princeton in 2001. Quite an accomplishment for an Ivy League team to come out on top against Duke, which plays with powerhouse programs in the ACC.

Raider Times photo / Declan Gallagher
Duke midfielder Brad Smith looks for an opening during the NCAA Division 1 lacrosse championship game May 28, 2018, at Gillette Stadium.

Duke was led by senior Justin Guterding, who is an amazing goal score. He holds the record for the scoring the most goals than anybody in the history of lacrosse. He had an amazing four years on the field. Guterding scored two goals in the finals and left all he had out on the field.

Duke freshman Nakeie Montgomery, who is known for his explosive offensive presence, was held without a shot by Yale. Joey Manown stepped onto the big stage and netted two goals for Duke, and was credited with one assist as well.

The effort from Duke was strong, just not enough to overcome the deficit that they found themselves in from start to finish in this one. Duke has a promising roster of younger plays destined to be back in championship weekend in the near future.

True to its billing, the NCAA lacrosse championship weekend had something for everyone — high-level lacrosse games, world-class collegiate athletes, adoring fans, fun for all, and lots of excitement!  

Congratulations to the Yale Bulldogs on their NCAA Division 1 championship!

Raider Times photo / Declan Gallagher
The Yale lacrosse team celebrates after beating Duke, 13-11, to win the NCAA Division 1 lacrosse title at Gillette Stadium on May 28, 2018.

–May 31, 2018–

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