For the third straight year, the MCLA National Tournament ended with Michigan men’s club lacrosse team hoisting the trophy.

On Saturday night in Denver, Colorado under the bright lights of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, the first-ranked Wolverines celebrated after winning the National Championship 12-11 over No. 3 Arizona State.

When thinking of the program Michigan coach John Paul and his coaching staff have assembled in Ann Arbor, the word dynasty comes to mind these days With four straight conference titles and, more importantly, three straight national championships (and just one loss in those three seasons), the Wolverines have put together one of the greatest runs in MCLA history.

“A lot of people were throwing that term (dynasty) out last night,” junior attackman Trevor Yealy said. “I would be reluctant to call it a dynasty because myself and a lot of others still have another year to go, and we wouldn’t want to jinx ourselves. (Coach) Paul and (his staff) have put together an amazing program and I don’t think it would be bad to call it a dynasty. It’s a pretty fitting title for three in a row, and hopefully we can keep running with it.”

The junior class would like to cement its place as the greatest to ever to come through the program, but that title currently belongs to the outgoing seniors. They have compiled a sterling 71-6 record during their tenure.

“(The senior class) started with 13 of them and 12 are graduating and that’s a great number (because) that many of them stuck around,” Paul said. “It’s a testament to these guys that they embraced the changes we made in the program, and they have been such a big part of our success over the last three years.”

Peaking on May 15 was something the team spoke of all year, and the Wolverines definitely focused on flying out of the gates to start the game.

But the first quarter certainly didn’t seem that way. The Sun Devils struck first blood within the first minute of play. A back-and-forth period saw Michigan down 5-4 at its end.

“A lot of (the sloppy play) was first-quarter jitters,” Yealy said. “A couple (of Arizona State’s) goals were just unfortunate … on one of them we had a defender fall down and slip on the wet grass.”

The second quarter was vital for the Wolverines in turning the game around. ASU had its goalie, Dylan Westfall, to thank for keeping the team in the game — Westfall made eight saves in a period which saw Michigan outshoot the Sun Devils 19 to three.

After dominating the Sun Devils in the second, the Wolverines took a 6-5 lead into the half. The play of the attack, which supplied eight of Michigan’s 12 goals, was especially outstanding.

“Our attack this year was the deepest I think we have ever been,” Yealy said. “We had at least five guys who all contributed a lot of points. And we just kind of meshed well. You could put any combination of us on the field together at one time and you’re going to get results. It was a good group and we were able to take advantage of that.”

With the lead down to one with eight seconds to play, senior midfielder David Reinhard won his seventeenth and most important draw of the game. The Sun Devils attempted a last-second Hail Mary shot, but it went wide of the goal.

The clock struck zero, and the Wolverines cemented their place in history as the only team to ever win three straight MCLA national championships.

“I think ‘tenacious’ is a great word for this team,” Paul said. “They had to deal with a lot of adversity and they had to fight to win. Things didn’t come as easy as they had the last two years. They just didn’t quit. They were tenacious in every game and that carried us through the tournament.”

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