PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — On Saturday, the Brown University men’s lacrosse team will head to the NCAA Division I Championship semifinals for just the second time in the program’s history and the first since 1994.
Their advance comes after last weekend’s 11-10 quarterfinal win over Navy. Playing in front of some 11,000 fans at Brown Stadium, the Bears gained an 8-4 lead in the third quarter and responded to multiple comeback attempts from the Midshipmen, who pulled within one goal four times in the fourth quarter.
Brown, which added to its school record for wins in a season with the victory over Navy, will play No. 1 seed University of Maryland in the national semifinals on Saturday, May 28, at 2:30 p.m. at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
“We’re really excited with how well we played Saturday,” said Lars Tiffany, Brown men’s lacrosse head coach. “All year, one of our mantras has been, ‘we do what we do, and let the other team find a way to make adjustments to stop us.’ We’re excited to get another chance to do it… against the No. 1 team in the country.”
The quarterfinal game was marked by the absence of attackman Dylan Molloy, the nation's leader in points and assists and a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award, given to the nation’s top player. Though fans worried that his absence might signal the end of the road for the Bears, Tiffany said Brown’s signature style of play — aggressive, fast and chaotic — remained effective even without Molloy.
“Any good coach would say, ‘Okay fellows, we don’t have Dylan, then next man up!’” Tiffany said. “The key is that our men believed it. They truly believed it and accepted it. We didn’t allow internal doubts or fears to come to the surface, and we just continued to play Brown lacrosse in that open, fast-paced chaotic style. Fortunately it was good enough to get a win against the talented, athletic Navy team.”
For Tiffany and the players, the win signified the attainment of a goal many years in the making.
“We’ve talked about getting to the quarterfinals since freshman year when we knew it was going to be at Brown,” said senior goalie Jack Kelly. “We’ve given the town a team to root for and really get behind. So that was really our main goal… It’s definitely not over yet, but it definitely means a lot to us.”
Although the team is excited to advance, winning has never been their exclusive motive, Tiffany said.
“We don’t talk at Brown about winning Ivy titles or winning national titles,” he said. “We don’t put goals like that out there. It’s a race to improve and to have the most fun. That’s the mantra I’ve used with the men... So far we’ve been successful in satisfying that goal.”
If the team wins on Saturday, they will head to the national championship game on Monday, May 30, where they would face the winner of Saturday’s other semifinal game between the University of North Carolina and Loyola University Maryland.
Since the semifinal game takes place the same weekend as Brown Commencement, seniors on the team took part in a smaller commencement ceremony on Monday.