College lacrosse's top two Division I men's programs were both upset on Saturday as top-ranked Penn State fell to No. 3 Yale while No. 2 Virginia was downed by an unranked Princeton squad. Here's how the Ivy League came away with two big wins.
No. 3 Yale 12, No. 1 Penn State 10
Saturday was the sixth all-time meeting between Penn State and Yale. Though the Nittany Lions came into the matchup as the No. 1 team, the Bulldogs had history on their side —the Nittany Lions last defeated Yale in 1997. Their last meeting ended in a four-goal win for the Ivy League member in the 2019 national semifinals. Yale extended its winning streak over PSU to five games with balance, control and a lead that went wire-to-wire.
Nine different players scored for the Bulldogs, led by a pair of of goals from Christian Cropp, Matt Brandau and Matt Gaudet. Yale's biggest flurry of offense came at the end of the first quarter and lasted almost a full quarter as the Bulldogs went on a 5-0 run over a 16-minute stretch to put the visitors ahead 6-1. Penn State clawed back to within a goal after Jack Traynor scored with 12:37 to play, but Yale responded with four of the next five goals to seal the win.
Defensively, the Bulldogs were more level. Faceoff specialist TD Ierlan won his first eight draws and finished 16 of 26 overall to control the game while goaltender Brody Wilson made eight saves and the defense forced 25 Penn State turnovers.
Princeton 16, No. 2 Virginia 12
The past two years, Princeton and Virginia have played a pair of close games with the Cavaliers winning both by a combined four goals. The two contests had a common theme — the game was tied at halftime. Saturday's contest appeared to be headed in the same direction when Michael Sowers knotted the game at seven apiece with 1:53 to go in the half. But then Sowers, Princeton's all-time leading scorer, found Chris Sowers for the lead with 10 seconds to go until the break.
That might have been an indication that things were going to change. Virginia had won seven straight over the Tigers coming into Saturday. Each time the defending champions made a run at an eighth consecutive win, Sowers was there to close that door. The senior thrice created separation from the Cavaliers in the second half, scoring twice and assisting on another goal. He finished with eight points, the final of those coming on an assist with 5:11 remaining, putting the Tigers up two and putting a stop to Virginia's gaining momentum.
Sowers was one of three Tigers to record four goals on Saturday, joined by Phillip Robertson and Chris Brown. Junior goaltender Erik Peters finished one stop short of a career high as he made 16 saves.