This week is a special episode of New England Lacrosse Journal’s “Chasing The Goal” podcast. Host Kyle Devitte goes solo and is joined by Brown alum Larken Kemp to break down the semifinals of the Ivy League tournament.
A native of Greenwich, Conn., Kemp attended Phillips Andover prior to his time at Brown. He is a three-time USILA All-American and four-time All-Ivy League long-stick midfielder, and was a key component of the 2016 team that made it to the NCAA semifinals under Lars Tiffany. He played professionally with the PLL Redwoods after graduation.
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Kyle Devitte: I think the thing to touch on is how these four teams (Brown, Yale, Cornell and Penn) have evolved throughout the season. This Brown team is not the Brown team that started the season that couldn’t finish a fourth quarter. They couldn’t finish a sandwich in the fourth quarter. It was rough, but they found a way, right? They found their own rhythm and they found a way to attack top-down, which is something I know you wanted to touch on before we get into it.
Larken Kemp: When Brown hired (Mike) Daly, some of his greatest attributes coming out of the D-3 level was that his toughest teams always peaked in May. And they did that regardless of who he had on that roster. It seemed like the way John Danowski at Duke gets credit at the D-1 level; regardless of early-season missteps, they always found a way to play their best ball when it mattered.
And that’s something that — due to the COVID pandemic and a variety of different things — we haven’t been able to see at consistent a level. I’m just really proud of the staff for continuing to chip away at it. I mean, during that three-game slide, specifically the UMass game, we really were kind of stumbling and bumbling. I think the biggest thing is that we’ve simplified our offense.
KD: I think that if we’re talking about strengths and weaknesses against Yale, neutralizing (Matt) Brandau is key. But he’s not the only guy to worry about. Chris Lyons didn’t come out of nowhere; he was well-respected and ranked recruit. Will Cabrera actually started most of the games for Yale at the beginning, and then Lyons gets healthy and he just is the extra spark to go with the calming influence of another freshman in Leo Johnson to settle that attack.
LK: They’ve had guys who can fill up the net, and Brandau never turns the ball over. So, if you have to slide to him, if you have to slide to Johnson or Lyons — or if you have to slide really anything — there’s going to be south-north skip lanes. Guys like Brad (Sharp) are going to be stepping in and he’s good from 15. So there’s no question Yale has the pieces.
I just think, philosophically, at the highest level, when you’re going to bed as Cornell’s D-coordinator, Jordan Stevens, you rest on the fact that you can put (Gavin) Adler on an island. I think you can almost tell your guys, force him to go three-and-two and beat us. If Brandau beats Gavin for three goals, fine. We just can’t let him get those hockey assists and get those easy step-downs on the backside.
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