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Mitchell Northam | | May 25, 2019

NCAA men's lacrosse championship: Breaking down the Yale vs. Virginia title game, by the numbers

Virginia defeats Duke in 2OT to advance to title game

Only two teams are left standing in Division I men's lacrosse.

On Monday in Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field, Virginia and Yale will face off for the national championship.

CHAMPIONSHIP: Bracket, schedule and latest updates from men's lacrosse tournament

Virginia got this far by winning the ACC tournament, then beating Robert Morris, Maryland and Duke on their way to a spot in the national championship game. The Cavaliers last won the title in 2011, topping Maryland 9-7.

Yale is back in the national championship game for the second straight year after beating Georgetown, Penn and upsetting No. 1 Penn State in the semifinals. Yale's win over Ivy League rival Penn shouldn't glossed over either, as the Bulldogs fell twice to the Quakers earlier this season. Yale won the title last year by beating Duke, 13-11.

Here's everything you need to know about the title bout.

Tale of the tape

No. 5 Yale vs.  No. 3 Virginia
15-3 Record 16-3
15.65 Goals Scored Per-Game 14.22
10.94 Goals Allowed Per-Game 10.22
.843 Clearing Percentage .818
6.88 Forced Turnovers Per-Game 9.28
15.24 Turnovers Per-Game 15.50
.525 Man-Down Defense .688
.408 Man-Up Offense .348
39.24 Ground Balls Per-Game 41.06

Yale goes into the national championship game looking to defend its 2018 crown with the second best offense in the nation. The Bulldogs are also armed with the top FOGO man in the nation in TD Ierlan and one of the top attackers in Jackson Morrill. The Bulldogs offense was at full strength on Saturday vs. Penn State. Yale scored 10 goals in the first quarter and ended the game with 21, the most the program had ever scored in an NCAA tournament game.

WATCH: Here are the best plays from quarterfinals action

Virginia enters this game with the sixth best offense and the 18th best defense in the country. They've displayed strengths of both in the postseason so far, holding Notre Dame to just four goals in the ACC title game and racking up 19 goals against Robert Morris in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Cavaliers are good at swiping away possessions too, picking up 41.06 ground balls per-game, the second most in the country.

  Common Opponents  
Yale   Virginia
W, 15-10 Princeton W, 12-11 (OT)
W, 17-12 Brown W, 14-13 (OT)

MLAX TOURNEY: Press release | Interactive bracket | Printable bracket 

Top Scorer

Jackson Morrill (Yale) vs. Matt Moore (UVA)
43 Goals 40
45 Assists 40
.371 Shot Percentage .294
69 Shots-on-Goal 71

Morrill is one of the best dime-droppers in the country, ranking ninth in the nation in assists per-game with a 2.65 mark, but he’s also a solid scorer, ranking second on the Bulldogs in goals. Ahead of him is Matt Gaudet, who has 47 goals. Also worth mentioning in Yale’s attack is Matt Brandau, a freshman who has racked up 40 goals and 21 assists this season. On Saturday vs. Penn State, Brandau poured in six goals.

BRACKET TAKEAWAYS: Yale's path to defending its title won't be eas

Moore leads Virginia in assists and is second on the team in scoring goals. The Cavaliers have two other attackers worth mentioning too in Michael Kraus and Ian Laviano. Kraus is second on the team in total points with 67 and Laviano leads the team in goals with 46. Laviano had four goals in the semifinal vs. Duke, while Kraus tallied a goal and four assists.


TD Ierlan (Yale) vs. Petey LaSalla (UVA)
347 Wins 194
.761 Win percentage .604
262 Ground balls 89

Ierlan has been a massive boost to Yale’s title defense hopes in 2019, transferring to the Bulldogs after spending two seasons at Albany. Last season, he set Division I records for face-off win percentage (.791), wins (359) and ground balls (254). Again, in 2019, he is the best face-off specialist in the country, ranking at the top in each statistic. Ierlan was named Ivy League Player of the Year and is a finalist for the Tewaarton Award.

MORE LACROSSE: Rankings | Stats

A freshman, La Salla is quickly becoming one of the best face-off specialists in the country. He was 18th in the nation this season in winning percentage, a mark that was second in all of the ACC. He was great at the X in the quarterfinals against Maryland, winning 19-of-28 battles.


Jack Starr (Yale) vs. Alex Rode (UVA)
174 Goals Allowed 145
156 Saves 138
.473 Save Percentage .488

Starr, a sophomore, is 34th in goals-against-average with a 11.07 per-game mark. He had one of his best performances in the early round of the NCAA tournament, saving 16 shots against Georgetown. In the semifinals against Penn State, Starr had five saves.

HISTORY: Memorable championship moments

Rode, a sophomore, has the 21st best goals-against-average in the country, a mark that is third in the ACC. He was stout against Duke, saving 19 shots while allowing 12. Rode was at his best in the ACC title game, stopping 11 Notre Dame shots while allowing just four to hit the back of the cage.

Mitchell Northam is a graduate of Salisbury University. His work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Orlando Sentinel, SB Nation, FanSided, USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times. He grew up on Maryland's Eastern Shore and is now based in Durham, N.C.

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