NCAA men's lacrosse: Cornell dethrones No. 1 Yale to claim Ivy League title, NCAA tournament bid
NEW YORK, N.Y. — Christian Knight was again a wall, Jeff Teat orchestrated a buttoned-up offense and Jake Pulver's longpole goal highlighted a 9-1 Cornell run as the Big Red won the 2018 Ivy League men's lacrosse tournament with a dominant 14-8 win over No. 1 Yale on Sunday afternoon at Columbia's Wien Stadium. The Big Red won its second Ivy tournament title and claimed the conference's automatic bid to NCAAs while improving to 12-4.
"This was a really good team game," coach Peter Milliman said. "I think we competed in every facet. We wanted to challenge Yale everywhere we could because we knew that they were really good at everything. It's a tough game plan when you know that they don't really have weakness. They really are good at everything. And most things they're great at."
Knight made 16 saves, giving him a tournament-record 35 stops in Cornell's two wins, on his way to tournament MVP honors. He also moved within three saves of jumping into the top four in school history in saves, improving his number to 585.
"This is one of the happiest moments of my life," Knight said. "It's a really special thing to accomplish with really special team. We've been working hard all year long. We set our minds on winning an Ivy League tournament championship during the fall. So it feels really great to accomplish one of our goals."
.@CornellLacrosse IS IN Big Red conquer the Big Apple with a 14-8 win over @YaleLacrosse to earn the @IvyLeague title and an automatic bid into the @NCAALAX tournament.— US Lacrosse Magazine (@USLacrosseMag) May 6, 2018
And so the bubble shrinks once more..... pic.twitter.com/6rjaEhgn40
Teat had a goal and five assists to lead a Big Red offense that assisted on nine of its scores and moved into a fifth-place tie for career assists with 98. His 96th point of 2018 matches the great Eamon McEneaney for fifth on the single-season list. Clarke Petterson, meanwhile, had three goals and an assist, becoming the 43rd player in school history to reach 100 career points.
But while the offense was clicking, particularly with its six goals in the fourth quarter, it was the defense — and the defense's offense — that made the difference.
On the seven-year anniversary of having his large intestine removed, senior captain Jake Pulver made his first career goal count. Leading 8-6 early in the fourth but with Cornell struggling against Yale's 10-man ride, Pulver wound up from beyond midfield and fired a laser into the goal. That score did more than give Cornell a three-goal lead — it also deflated a Bulldog team building some momentum and put the Big Red in the driver's seat. The second-seeded Big Red upped its lead to as many as six and cruised in the final minutes.
"I knew [Jake] was throwing it into the net," said Teat with a laugh at the postgame press conference. "In practice, he loves throwing it. He practices it. He's good at it and he stuck that one and it was a big momentum swing for us and we built off it."