Brown Men’s Lacrosse Tops Navy, 11-10, Heads to First NCAA Final Four since 1994

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Senior Kylor Bellistri (Potomac,Md.) recorded six points on four goals and two assists, and No. 5 seed Brown University men’s lacrosse beat Navy, 11-10, in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship to punch its ticket to the final four for the second time ever and for the first time since 1994.

Playing in front of an NCAA Quarterfinal crowd of 11,012 fans at Brown Stadium on Saturday afternoon, the Bears (16-2) gained an 8-4 halftime lead and responded to multiple comeback attempts from the Midshipmen (11-5) 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, will play No. 1 seed Maryland in the national semifinals of the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship on Saturday, May 28 at either noon or 2:30 p.m. on ESPN2 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa.

Bellistri tied Brown’s single-season goals record with 62 goals. Junior Tewaaraton Award finalist Dylan Molloy (Setauket, N.Y.), who sat out the game with a foot injury, set the record last season.

Seniors Henry Blynn (Villanova, Pa.) and Bailey Tills (Denver, Colo.) each tallied two goals and one assist as Brown’s starting attack of Bellistri, Blynn, and Tills accounted for 12 of Brown’s 18 points on eight goals and four assists. Freshman Foster LeBoeuf (Beverly, Mass.) added one goal and one assist.

Senior face-off specialist Will Gural (Haverford, Pa.) won 18-of-24 face-offs and picked up a game-high 11 ground balls. Junior Larken Kemp (Greenwich, Conn.) caused a game-best four turnovers alongside five ground balls.

Brown senior goalie Jack Kelly (West Islip, N.Y.) made 12 saves, pushing his program record career saves mark to 659 stops.

For Navy, Casey Rees scored a game-high five goals, and goalie John Connors turned aside 21 shots. T.J. Hanzsche netted two goals, Greyson Torain posted a goal and two assists, and Jules Godino registered a team-best eight ground balls.

After an early goal from Navy’s T.J. Hanzsche, Bellistri answered 13 seconds later to tie the game at 1-1. Sophomore Alec Tulett (Toronto, Ontario) followed with a behind-the-back goal off a ground ball to put Brown up 2-1 just over three minutes into the game.

A goal from Blynn off a Bellistri feed capped a 3-0 run for the Bears. The Midshipmen responded with two goals from Casey Rees and Hanzshe to knot the score at 3-3 with 1:23 left in the half. Bellistri gave Brown a 4-3 edge with 9.9 seconds remaining in the opening frame, tossing a behind-the-back shot into the goal off a Tills feed.

The two teams played to a draw over the second quarter’s first 10 minutes before Navy’s Greyson Torain scored. Tills retaliated, wrapping around the crease after receiving a Bellistri pass to put Brown back up 5-4. With 42.6 seconds left in the half, Blynn scored from the left side off a pass from sophomore Jack Collins (Barrington, R.I.), and Brown led 6-4 at the break.

At the half, Gural won 8-of-11 face-offs, and Kelly made seven saves. Bellistri posted two goals and two assists while Blynn tallied two goals and an assist.

Brown scored the first two goals of the third quarter to gain an 8-4 edge with 4:20 left in the period. Bellistri scored the half’s first goal off an assist from LeBoeuf at the 12:28 mark before Tills netted a goal just over eight minutes later. Navy’s Rees netted back-to-back goals to bring the Midshipmen within 8-6 heading to the fourth quarter.

The Midshipmen pulled within one goal four times in the fourth, but the Bears did not allow Navy to come any closer. Once Navy made it 8-7, senior Brendan Caputo (Westbury, N.Y.) answered with a goal on a low shot. The Midshipmen cut it to 9-8, but LeBoeuf wrapped around the crease, dodged a defender, and scored to put Brown up 10-8 with 6:15 to play.

After Navy cut it to 10-9 with 4:57 to go, Bellistri responded with a goal from straight on to give the Bears an 11-9 advantage with 2:22 left. Rees netted his fifth goal of the game with 1:59 remaining, but Brown kept the Midshipmen off the board the rest of the way.

Including today’s match-up, the last three meetings between Brown and Navy have come in the NCAA tournament. The Bears improved to 2-1 against the Midshipmen in those meetings. Brown won 12-5 in the first round in 1994, and Navy won 14-6 in the first round in 1987.

The Brown men’s lacrosse program played its first game inside the confines of Brown Stadium since 1996.