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May 27, 2018

Matt Gaudet

Jackson Morrill

Ben Reeves

Andy Shay

Boston, Massachusetts

THE MODERATOR: We have Yale head coach Andy Shay, joined by student-athletes Matt Gaudet, Ben Reeves and Jackson Morrill. Coach, an opening statement?

ANDY SHAY: Thanks for inviting us here today. We're excited that we're playing in the National Championship game. Seen a little bit of film on Duke. We have a ton of respect for their program, coaches and players, so we're excited for a good game.

Q. Every season is unique and kind of has its own arc or narrative. I realize you still have one more to go, but how has this played out in your eyes or what's been kind of a story of the day?
ANDY SHAY: Yeah, I've had a lot of questions like that, and to be honest with you, the Final Four -- getting to the Final Four, even to this point now that we're here, has not hit me yet. So we were able to approach the Albany game as just another game, despite the fact it's in a much bigger stadium and a lot of people are watching.

To this point, playing tomorrow hasn't hit me yet. So we're putting it off, and I'm hoping that we can keep the moment where it is and just look at the Duke game as another game that is admittedly very big. I think it was a good tact so far, so we're going to keep with it, hopefully.

Q. You guys back in the Ivy League semifinals had a very good game. Penn dominated them something like you guys did against Albany on Saturday. Now coming into Monday, a championship game, how are you guys going to try to avoid a letdown like you had against Cornell in the championship for the Ivy League?
BEN REEVES: I just think we learned a lot from the weekend a couple weeks ago. We're going to utilize what we learned and just stick to the details and the little things and hopefully that's enough to carry us to put us in a good spot to win the game.

THE MODERATOR: Jackson, do you have any thoughts?

JACKSON MORRILL: I think that last experience was good for us, especially now. Today, I think, will be the biggest day, kind of changing how we went about it. Just understanding that Saturday no longer matters. I'm looking forward to it. I think the Ivy League tournament will definitely help us this weekend.

Q. Andy, how would you kind of compare and contrast your program and your team to Duke? Do you see similarities that kind of standout on a quick look at them, anything in particular?
ANDY SHAY: Yeah, stark similarity to be honest with you. Coach Danowski and I go way back. A number of his assistants are my closest friends in the game, number of former assistants. Chris Gabrielli, a former assistant, head coach at Providence played for me at UMASS. (Indiscernible) is, like I said, one of my closest friends.

We're very similar in how we approach our coaching styles in terms of trying to be fundamental and trying to be process-oriented and worry about ourselves. On the field it looks like they're an extremely, extremely athletic team. So I'd like to think we're pretty athletic, but they look pretty impressive on film, so that's a little scary. But I think we're both very similar programs in a lot of ways.

Q. From an entertainment standpoint we are all getting the matchup we wanted in you and Guterding across the field from you. Have you been able to kind of appreciate what he's done over the course of four years, and what he kind of does that makes him so special?
BEN REEVES: I haven't watched a lot of Duke games, to be completely honest. But I understand he's an incredible player and we have a ton of respect for him. We understand he's going to be an absolute challenge on the defensive side of the ball. But other than that, I haven't put much thought into the match-up or anything of that nature.

Q. Andy, I wanted to ask two questions about Jackson. Considering his family history, are you surprised you landed him right after him going over to Johns Hopkins? And two, how would you characterize his development?
ANDY SHAY: Surprise? Yeah, at some point along the recruiting process, I think we were surprised. I think that he is from, obviously, lacrosse royalty in terms of his family. Yes, you are. You know, I give a lot of credit to his parents who said it's your decision, and we want you to be you. You know, he visited and he realized that it was home for him. Like I said, I think that his parents support in that respect was pretty critical, and they've been unbelievably supportive of him and us the whole way.

His development has been -- he's an extremely diligent and hard worker. He harps on his weaknesses and tries to eradicate them at all times. I think that he would agree that his freshman year wasn't his best finishing year. Then this year you look at his finishing percentage and it's off the charts.

So he's worked very hard in the weight room. He does whatever we ask. He's got an extremely high lacrosse IQ, and he's a joy to coach. We're psyched that we stole him away from your area for a little bit.

Q. Can you describe the growth that you've seen from Chris Fake and Jack Starr, two freshmen on defense?
ANDY SHAY: Yeah, I think those guys both came into our program a little unsure of what their role would be. They're both very humble and quiet kids. Credit that's guys for bringing your younger defensemen along.

Ben specifically has helped Chris with, I think, his confidence. When you can come in and a guy like Ben Reeves gives you respect for being a cover guy, I think that goes a long way. And Chris has, you know, he really has no ego about him. He just wants to be the best player that he can be for our program. These guys do a great job of pushing him and pulling him along, and being the guy they need him to be.

Jackson's a little bit different trajectory for him, but he's been -- he's realized that his fundamentals are critical, and I think he's really starting to realize that that's going to be key to his success. Things that he's been able to get away with in high school where he's ultra talented, he realizes it's going to take a little while before he's the most talented guy in a match-up with a shooter.

He's been far more reliant on his fundamentals lately, and I think it's made a huge difference.

Q. Matt and Ben, I've heard process-oriented around you guys a lot over the last few weeks. Has this season felt any different or has the process felt any different leading up to this point than maybe last year or before that?
MATT GAUDET: I think one thing our coaches have instilled in our culture is that it's the little details, it's the process, so I don't think that's really been lost over the last, I guess, few years. But I think we've really been stingy about that this year, and it's little details like leaving the locker room clean. I think everything translates on to the lacrosse field, like in school, how you carry yourself around school. I think we've just really been focused on that this year, and I think it's correlated to our success.

BEN REEVES: I thought Matt summed it up.

Q. For the three attack men, a little bit of a look against Duke so far. But how are you trying to prepare against a really good defense with Cade and JT and Kevin McDonough?
BEN REEVES: Obviously we just watched the game from yesterday and a couple other cuts. But right now we're just focusing on ourselves and focusing on what we do, and just preparing in that way.

ANDY SHAY: We haven't had that much time to be honest with you. We put these guys to bed and stayed up watching a lot of film. Right now the rest of the team is with the staff, and I brought my laptop here to continue watching some film in downtime. But there really hasn't been that much time.

It's not a team we know that well. Trying to get to know them a little bit. But I think it's going to be a huge challenge. They're excellent defensively, and it's going to be hard.

Q. Ben and Matt, can you talk about what it's like playing with Jackson?
MATT GAUDET: I think playing with Jackson has been a real treat, like Coach already iterated, Jackson's IQ is above any player I've ever played with. Kind of higher than Ben's.

BEN REEVES: Much higher (laughing).

MATT GAUDET: It's just being put in those different situations with Jackson that have really, I guess, helped me out. Of course, having him be like a huge feeder for an inside guy has also benefited me in my playing style. Given me more opportunities that I haven't seen before. Whenever I need a quick little reset on the field, I go up to Jackson, and he really helps me kind of go back to baseline and kind of restart and helps me out when I'm really struggling, I guess, mentally with like a good play or a bad play or what I should have done here. His lacrosse IQ has definitely benefited my IQ as well.

BEN REEVES: To talk about what Matt was saying and his lacrosse IQ, it was in the fall last year, it was freshmen fall.

ANDY SHAY: First week.

BEN REEVES: Yeah, first week, and he was teaching our offense, our guys, teaching me how to set picks and run off picks. It was kind of the first thing we realized was his lacrosse IQ is so high. He's an absolutely incredible player and he's developed so much over the course of the two years, it's a real honor to play with him.

I remember telling Coach Shay that I'm pretty sure he's the best player on the team right now, and he makes everything happen for us. He's the quarterback of the offense, basically.

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