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May 28, 2016
Maryland - 15, Brown - 14
THE MODERATOR: Now joined by Brown head coach Lars Tiffany, student-athletes Dylan Molloy, Jack Kelly and Bailey Tills. Coach, an opening statement.
COACH TIFFANY: This is a large room. This is a little different than a normal press conference. So thank you all for being here, and sorry for making you wait. Part of the delay was it was some tears in the locker room. Certainly some smiles. Cherishing this team.
Bottom line, we just didn't want this thing to ever end. We knew it had to end at some point this weekend. But we've had so much fun playing. And how much fun was that today? What a riot that was.
And two really good teams going toe to toe. They jump out to the 4-1 lead, we come swinging back to get the next four. Then from there it was back and forth, back and forth.
Maryland did a phenomenal job not letting us get underneath their skin. We're really good at making teams uncomfortable. And while we may have made Maryland a little uncomfortable here and there, they kept their poise and then they built that lead.
And so I give a lot of tribute to John Tillman and his staff and his men. But this group of men that we coach here at Brown University, we talk about it all the time: It's forget the scoreboard. Next play.
And that's a nice thing to say as a coach, and it's something -- it sounds good, but they've got to believe it. And these men, the men of Brown Wood Cross absolutely believe it, next play here we go.
But last week no Dylan Molloy, next man up, trust the system. There's a confidence of our men that we can lose one of the best players in the country and still make plays and get a win over Navy and come out here today and play at such a high level, though No. 4 isn't at full strength.
I love this team. I use that word not haphazardly. The group, the effort, the commitment, you know, everyone works hard, but there's something different about this team, the emotional side of things.
I also want to make note of Dylan's injury. He's one of the toughest men to ever be, put a lacrosse helmet on, to play this game with a broken foot. A Jones fracture, the fifth metatarsal, is phenomenally heroic.
I believe that there's never been a stronger effort put out there by an athlete and training staff, Beth Conroy and Mike Pimentel, endless hours Dylan was in the training room eight hours a day. Delivering him Chipotle to him so he didn't have to leave. He did everything asked of him. He was in a pool here in Philadelphia trying to get the flexibility, keep the swelling down, just icing, constantly around the clock.
It was just an amazing effort by him and training staff and Dr. Owens who flew down from Providence to provide the lidocaine, provide the shot so Dylan could do what he could do out there.
The man to my left, Jack Kelly, obviously the first half we were giving up too good of shots, too good of looks, and what a great second half Jack Kelly stepped up and did. When the Maryland team was starting to assert their will, gain confidence, this Brown team tries double picks, we're aggressive, trying to chop people, and they endured.
I mentioned that earlier I give them credit for not letting us get too deep underneath their skin. There was Jack Kelly keeping the score close enough, close enough, and allow us to make that really heartwarming and most proud moment to come back from those four down and just keep believing, next play, don't worry about the scoreboard, next play.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the players.
Q. Dylan, if you could, two questions, first of all, how do you feel physically now and how do you feel emotionally now?
DYLAN MOLLOY: Physically, pretty beat up. I mean, my foot's killing me. But I needed to be out there after last weekend, being on the sidelines is probably the hardest thing ever. I couldn't do that ever. So whatever the risks were, I had to take it. I just needed to be out there with my teammates once more.
I'm happy I did it for sure. We haven't gotten the x-ray just yet, making sure there's no displacement of the bone or anything like that. Hoping that turns out well. But happy I did it. And I was proud to be out there.
Q. Obviously Coach said you didn't want the ride to end. What were the emotions like that after the goal went in, you see Maryland celebrating, you're walking off the field for the last time, your season's over, what were your emotions like?
UNIDENTIFIED STUDENT-ATHLETE: It's definitely a tough pill to swallow. We fought back the whole game. They went up four. We came back. They went up three, we came back. I mean, for me personally, I can't speak for the other guys, but I was proud. I was upset. I was deranged. It was just an up and down, it was a great game of lacrosse. It was great for the fans to watch. And it was fun playing.
But, yeah, it was just definitely really tough to watch all those guys run right by the crease and dogpile number two. It was tough to watch. But hats off to those guys. It must have been a great feeling for them.
Q. Bailey, can you talk about your no look back angle you had in the second quarter?
BAILEY TILLS: The guy playing against me did a really great job taking away my right hand. I took a shot that's not normally encouraged by our coaching staff but it went in. It was pretty lucky, but I was stoked it fell.
Q. Dylan and Jack and Bailey, can you just talk about the system that Coach Tiffany or the culture or the type of practice and development plan that he's put in place for you guys to get better as players and to develop over the course of your careers which you clearly have?
DYLAN MOLLOY: We have some of the smartest coaches on staff. They do a great job designing practice for it to be not killer but at the same time get us better, always have fun, definitely making jokes for us to have a blast. I'm always out there having a great time, looking for chasers, teaching us our transition offense, we're hooting and hollering and having a great time. It might suck a little for the middies up and down. Everything has a purpose, but yet they mix in a little fun for us. It's just a great way to be out there every day.
Q. Dylan, when you woke up this morning, did you know you were going to be able to play, or was it really a game-time decision for you today?
DYLAN MOLLOY: I mean, me personally, I was going regardless. But, I mean, the broken bone, it couldn't feel much better than it was feeling the last couple of days. But the swelling was definitely down from last week. Definitely needed two weeks for it to start getting a little better.
But I was going to be out there regardless. I didn't know if the coaches were going to be happy about that because I didn't know how much I'd be able to move. But for me myself I needed to be out there to be with everyone.
Q. Jack and Bailey, what did it mean for Dylan to come out, emotionally for the team, for Dylan to come out today and give it his all?
JACK KELLY: I mean, we're a team that's led by seniors. But this kid doesn't know it. Everyone looks to him for leadership, too. It's just an incredible moment when Force says he's going. And everybody looks up to this kid. Look at him. He's just a tough kid. And I think it showed how tough he is in the way that he played with his foot injured. He wasn't just standing there, he was going after guys.
It was just incredible to watch. I think that he made our team proud, our school proud and our league proud. A lot of people look at the Ivy League and think it's a bunch of softies, but you look at Dylan Molloy, battling through a broken foot. Guys like Michael Quinn playing on a torn ACL. I think he proved that he's a tough guy and that this is a tough league.
BRENDAN CAPUTO: I mean, I'm the guy who has to play in place of Dylan. So having him out there is awesome for me. I know I had a lot of success today just because Maryland doesn't want to take that step away from him. So it kind of opens up everything for everyone else. So even if he's not 100 percent, he's definitely an asset on the field. And I think Jack hit it on the head: He's one of the toughest kids out there in the game. And I personally think he's the best player. So it was great to have him out there and sharing that last game with him. It's been fun.
Q. Dylan and Bailey, what did it mean, the third quarter goaltending of Jack, how much did that fuel the comeback and the belief that you could still win that game? That was some of the most remarkable goaltending I've ever seen?
DYLAN MOLLOY: I mean, we always rally behind Jack. He's usually making the first stop depending what it is, the beginning of the game or end of the game, whatever it is, we're rallying behind him, going off what he's doing. That's great for us. That's why we have so much success on the offensive end. It had us going crazy because there's a couple of unreal stops. I don't know how he does it, but it was definitely awesome and we just rally behind him after that.
BRENDAN CAPUTO: If you guys watched us all year, Jack does that almost every game at some point. So it's nothing new for us. But it's obviously a great guy to have on the net. It definitely takes air out of the other team when he does stuff like that and robs guys of goals on the crease, and it gives us just another opportunity to attack the net and try to capitalize on that. It's huge. He does it all the time. And this is part of the reason we're so good.
Q. Bailey, talk about the evolution of your game from the fields at Denver through your senior year here at Brown and how that's evolved and what it means for Colorado lacrosse and where that state is and its progression?
BRENDAN CAPUTO: It's been a really cool ride for me personally. Coming from Kent, I had to flew out to the East Coast, try to get recruited, and Lars took me in, allowed me to play at Brown.
Through my four years here I've been part of the game changing in general. I think the way we play, the fast tempo, the high-scoring offense is just a totally new thing. And it's been really cool to be a part of that.
I think with Denver winning last year the national championship is really great for the game growing out west. And there's some really talented kids out there that want to make their market and be able to do this. I flew out from Philly when I was in middle school, came to a final four, and so it was really cool for me to get to play on the stage with my brothers and the coaches that I love.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach.
Q. We talked on Thursday at the Franklin Institute about the 1-2 punch with Maryland. The 1-2 punch with Rambo and Heacock, what challenges did they present to you today?
COACH TIFFANY: First, let me talk about these three men. Those three men are outstanding men and representatives of Brown University. But I've got a team of them. I couldn't be more proud of them, just the way they speak and they talk about each other and the humble, modest. Yet they're phenomenal lacrosse players. Talking to them, you wouldn't know it. You just have to watch them. I feel like a very proud father.
The 1-2 punch. We knew we were going to struggle with that. We have one really talented cover defenseman in JJ Ntshaykolo, No. 24. We struggle with a team that has two top attackmen who can push and create from behind the goal. So we did a number of different things today. And Alec Tulett is a really good cover guy, but we ask so much of Alec, No. 25, taking just about every faceoff wing, flying up and down in transition. And also being able to go back in the hole to defend against one of the best attackmen in the country.
We try to rotate around, we put different people. It was a real challenge. How we try to counter it is double picks any chance we could. It matches the philosophy. 2015 we played fast in offense first time. Growing pains, learning the system, having a lot of fun, and in the offseason we said we should play even faster but even more so our defense should be similar to our offense. They should match the philosophy. Let's not let teams possess the ball. Let's not sit back in the zone.
The way we played defense this year is what you saw today. Anytime there's a pick on ball, let's double it. Let's get out there and extend pressure. Let's 10-man. Maryland made us pay. We've been scored on maybe one other time this year. That's okay. Next play.
But so for us against to guard 1-2 wasn't to sort of sit down like Maryland's really good at cover defensemen and try to hold ground. We're like, no, we have to slide, double. So unfortunately those 1 and 2 were really good and they made us pay, especially in that overtime goal.
Q. 24 turnovers. I know you guys like to keep that discomfort going. Was some of that a function of Maryland, like you said, keeping its poise and was it maybe some of you guys maybe not being as completely glued together as you normally would be on offense, in the face of a defense like that?
COACH TIFFANY: Right. I felt like most of our turners are in the middle of the field. I'm sure there was others, but there was a stretch there at the end of the second quarter through much of the third quarter, we just couldn't sort of make that next pass and complete it. Certainly those are on us. And they're under our turnover category for a reason.
But I think that it's the athleticism of Maryland playing at this level. We saw some good athletes creating pressure. The two that got us late in the game that fortunately we were able to tie it after, but having two failed clears at the end, one was referee called interference. That wasn't a turnover we made with our sticks, but another one where we tried to hit 44 over the shoulder, Santangelo.
I've had a lot of coaches call me, ask me about the system, and the first thing I say is can you stomach turnovers. And if you can't, let's just stop the phone conversation, I'll hang up right now.
And you have to be able to stomach these. And it's interesting. I said all week, and it almost matches up perfectly here, I was looking at the turnovers, why do you think Maryland is such a good team is they can get to as many goals scored with half the turnovers that we need. Apparently we had the best offense in the country if we talk about goals for, but we needed to throw some forced passes, take some chances, so we had a lot more turnovers. That was a bit of a function of what we were today. So, yes, we didn't talk about turnovers much. And we just gotta play the next play.
Q. Your thoughts on Dylan playing as much as he did. I think that he might play some. I was amazed that he played as much as he did. And what did that take and were you even surprised that he could play that much and that effectively?
COACH TIFFANY: You know, I think it was sort of in between what we expected. It was like, okay, is he going to be really barely to move -- excuse me, will he be able barely to move or all of a sudden he's going to be almost the same Dylan that was scoring 60 goals and distributing the ball and really running our offense.
It was sort of in between. And as a coaching staff -- he was in that gray area of, do we keep him out there. And at one point we talked to him in the third quarter and said, Dylan, it just doesn't seem like it's working. And he said, Coach, you can't take me out, give me one more chance.
We gave him another chance, he made a decent play, then he came back in the fourth quarter and scored a big goal. That's an emotional goal because we see how much he's persevering through pain and how much he's sacrificing to be out there. But, yeah, to answer your question, it was like, okay, we've got to kind of gauge this, see this, because Bailey Tills is playing really well right now. Played well against Navy. Had a good game here.
So it was touch and go there. But in the end Dylan convinced us to keep him in there. As Bailey Tills mentioned, having Dylan in the game allowed Bailey to get a different matchup and to know that he could come around most likely not seeing a slide. And Bailey took advantage of that.
Q. I know going into the season you know this is a really good group. Was there a point in the season where you kind of realized this was an extremely special group that could do something like this?
COACH TIFFANY: One point -- I think it's -- to me it was kind of like a tidal wave growing. We'd seen it last year. We knew we had a lot of men coming back this year for 2016. Phenomenal goalie in Jack Kelly. Rising from nowhere, faceoff man, Will Gural, turned down a Division III offer. And then we looked for someone else and then we didn't get that guy and we got Will Gural. And looking at what we had in the long stick midfield position. It was funny, I was talking to Eric Fekete, the Quinnipiac coach, a couple weeks ago, and he said we just felt like we were the first one to get killed by the serial killer. We were just the first victim, so nobody knew.
And I probably shouldn't laugh for using a term like that. But he made me laugh. I think that first game we saw like, wow, and then obviously Quinnipiac went on to make the NCAA Tournament.
So it's just -- it was fun in the off-season after the '15 season going 12-5 and playing fast to have the realization, wow, we should play even faster next year. And the smiles that went on our faces and when we told the men when they came back, they were like, all right, let's do this.
And playing the game the way it's supposed to be played, in our opinion. Obviously people differ. There's a lot of really good lacrosse coaches in the country who play different than we do, and there's probably smarter lacrosse coaches than me, but the way we think it should be played the way it was played when I grew up in Lafayette, New York, in the shadows of the dome watching the teams of Syracuse in the '80s, it was the way it's played on the Native American reservation, the Onodagas, the men I played, I was fortunate to grow up in Lafayette High School and play with, and then played for Dom Starsia and Pete Lasagna at Brown University. You look at the scores back with the teams we played on in the late '80s, we were winning games 21-16 and losing games 21-18. We wanted to play fast.
So this was the way the game that we believe it should be played, and fortunately have the great men. I coach great men. Great, talented men. As you saw, well spoken, representatives, incredible people. And so this is the style that's going to define Brown lacrosse and Brown University.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports