Cornell vs. Brown
May 7, 2010
The Game Story:
ITHACA, N.Y. – The No. 7 Cornell men’s lacrosse team went into halftime against No. 17 Brown this evening with a firm lead in every statistic but on the scoreboard. Leading just 6-4 and having allowed the final two goals of the first half had given the Bears reason to believe that they could become the first team to top the Big Red on Schoellkopf Field twice in one season.

Five minutes into the second half, those thoughts were all but gone.

Cornell used a five-goal spurt, many of which were highlight reel tallies, to take a commanding 11-4 lead as the Big Red advanced to the finals of the first-ever Ivy League championship tournament. Cornell finished the game with a thorough and impressive 14-8 victory over Brown and will face No. 2 seed Princeton on Sunday at noon in the finals for the conference's automatic NCAA tournament bid. The victory improved Cornell to 10-4, while ending fellow Ivy champion Brown's regular season at 8-6. It also avenged one of the Big Red's four losses so far, a 13-10 defeat against the Bears just two weeks ago.

“We have a lot of respect for Brown,” said Cornell head coach Jeff Tambroni. “They beat us the last two times we played. I’m thrilled for our seniors more than anyone. The last time we came out and competed on this field, it was Senior Day against this very team and we didn’t play the way we thought we were capable of. Our seniors really responded tonight and put together 60 minutes and gave us a chance.”

In a season where four teams tied for the Ivy regular season crown and a series of tiebreakers was needed to seed the tournament squads, Cornell proved for a night it was slotted correctly with a strong performance on both ends of the field, particularly in the middle in the face-off circle.

Cornell won 20-of-26 face-offs, thanks to Austin Boykin, who took all but one restart for the Big Red, finishing the night with 20-of-25 wins to go along with a game-high 10 ground balls to give the Big Red possession after possession. The home team also held a decisive edge in shots (51-27) and ground balls (37-18).

Once Boykin secured the ball, the usual suspects and a fresh face did the rest. Rob Pannell (two goals, three assists) and Ryan Hurley (four goals, two assists) spearheaded the offensive charge, while rookie Steve Mock added a career-best four goals, with each coming in the middle two periods.

With his four goals and two assists, Hurley moved into third place all-time in Cornell history for career goals (129) and sixth overall for career points (164). Pannell’s three assists moves him into seventh place for single season assists (42) and sixth place for career assists (84).

Defensively, goalie AJ Fiore overcame a slow start to finish with nine saves and Max Feeley caused a pair of turnovers. The Cornell ride was also impressive, forcing Brown into eight turnovers as the Bears cleared the ball successfully just 14-of-22 times.

Brown was kept in the contest through the strong play of its goalie, Matt Chriss, who finished with 18 saves, 13 of which came in the first half. Offensively, the Bears were led by Reade Seligmann with one goal and three assists, while David Hawley added a pair of tallies.

“Let’s give a tremendous amount of credit to Jeff Tambroni, his staff and the Cornell Big Red lacrosse team,” said Brown head coach Lars Tiffany. “Simply put, they played great lacrosse tonight. In the first half, Cornell dominated us on the face-off X, they dominated us in their riding game and we really struggled as a team to clear the ball and get it to our offense. All year Brown has proved we have a very potent offense, but were not potent if we don’t have the ball and give a tremendous amount of credit to Cornell to prevent that from happening.”

After Hurley got Cornell on the board early in the first quarter, back-to-back goals by Seligmann and Roger Ferguson gave the Bears their one and only lead in the game, 2-1, at the 9:38 mark of the first quarter.

Cornell scored the next four goals, thanks mostly to Hurley who scored once and assisted on two others to go up, 6-2, but two late goals by Hawley sent the Big Red into the half with a slim 6-4 lead.

The Big Red’s five goal spurt gave the home team an 11-4 lead just over five minutes into the third quarter, but saw its run ended when Collins Carey scored an unassisted goal at the 7:13 mark.

Back-to-back goals by Mock over a span of 28 seconds ended the scoring for the quarter, giving Cornell the 13-5 lead.

The Bears outscored the Big Red, 3-1 down the stretch, but it was too little, too late, as Cornell earned the 14-8 victory.

Familiar rivals Cornell and Princeton will meet in the first-ever Ivy Tournament final thanks to the Tigers' 7-6 escape against Yale. The Bulldogs made a frantic comeback from five goals down to get within one in the final two minutes, but could not convert the equalizer in the first game of the championship.