Photo: Phoebe Sheehan
After his first sojourn to the visiting lacrosse locker room at the University at Albany — “it isn’t as bad as everyone says” — TD Ierlan met with a half dozen reporters Friday night.
They were expecting to hear about a happy homecoming, but Ierlan, who transferred to Yale over the summer after two seasons at the University at Albany, revealed an array of emotions.
“It was fun to see everyone at the end,” said Ierlan, who won 16 of 17 faceoffs and scored a goal in Yale’s 10-5 victory, “but the game was not fun. I don’t think I’ve ever said that about a college lacrosse game, that I’ve never had fun, even losses.”
Ierlan knew when he left UAlbany, which he helped to three NCAA Tournament victories in two seasons, that this day would come. The Danes and Bulldogs have met each of the past five years.
“It’s the toughest game I’ve ever had to play, hands down,” Ierlan said. “I thought playing my brother was hard, but that was like playing 50 brothers. There’s nothing you can do to prepare yourself for that. I knew all week it was going to be hard.”
On the physical front, it was business as usual. Ierlan, who set an NCAA Division I record with UAlbany last season by winning 79.1 percent of his faceoffs, dominated the X, as expected.
After two early faceoff losses, the Danes resorted to using their longstick — junior Pat Barrow, a childhood friend of Ierlan’s — to take draws, but to no avail.
“Let’s call a spade a spade,” UAlbany coach Scott Marr said. “We knew what we were into, with TD coming into town. He’s a great player and a great competitor. He did a great job for them. We just tried to do some different things to try to mix him up.”
Ierlan’s goal off a faceoff with 4:26 to play in the second quarter gave Yale (9-2), the 2018 national champs and this year’s fourth-ranked team, a 6-0 lead.
“This is going to sound terrible,” Ierlan said, “but it was almost like I wasn’t happy to score a goal. All my teammates were happy, and at the end of the day to get the win was huge. I got bragging rights on Nate (Siekierski, UAlbany goalie). That’s good. I’ll hold that over his head.”
It was Ierlan’s fourth goal of the season, although the Danes (5-7) responded with the next three. Jakob Patterson, whose two goals raised his total to a team-high 23, beat the first-half buzzer with a nifty behind-the-head shot off a pass from Tehoka Nanticoke to make it 6-2.
“I’m just trying to give a spark to the team, trying to get them going,” Patterson said. “We came up short, but it gives us good momentum going to next week because we know we played hard against a good Yale team.”
Patterson scored again early in the third, and Nanticoke appeared to have cut the deficit to 6-4, but his goal was disallowed for a player in the crease.
Yale scored the next four, although it turned out to be their lowest goal total of the season.
“Starting every possession pretty much playing on defense is not easy on the defense,” Marr said, “but we played tough.”
The postgame handshake line was impassioned for Ierlan and some of his ex-teammates.
“There was a lot of emotion,” Ierlan said. “There was a lot of emotion with the decision and the whole process. I will always care about those kids. They’re like brothers. If they ever needed anything, I would be there. The same with the coaching staff.”
“A lot of mixed emotions,” Marr said. “I love the kid. He did a great job for us when he was here. He was a big part of taking us to a final four. I told him after the game I loved him, gave him a hug, and wished him the best.”
“It’s good to see him back here,” said Barrow, who grew up with Ierlan in the Rochester suburb of Victor and calls him “Tristan,” his birth name. “He may be on a different team, but we’re always family. He’s like a brother to me.”
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Published at Sat, 20 Apr 2019 03:21:00 +0000