Cornell vs. Harvard
May 8, 2011
The Game Story:
ITHACA, N.Y. -- The Cornell men's lacrosse won its first-ever Ivy League tournament title with a 15-6 win over No. 17 Harvard on Sunday afternoon at Schoellkopf Field. The Big Red improved its win streak to 10 games with the triumph behind a suffocating defense and an offense that rolled through the final 32 minutes with 13 goals. Harvard fell to 10-6 with the loss. Cornell will learn its NCAA tournament first round NCAA opponent when the pairings are announced on ESPNU tonight at 9 p.m.

A three-minute unreleasable illegal stick penalty on Harvard late in the second quarter turned a tight 2-2 game into 5-2 Cornell advantage early in the third quarter. From there, the Big Red rolled, outscoring Harvard 11-4 after halftime. Cornell also dominated the face-off circle against one of the nation's best groups, winning 15-of-23 draws to prove decisive.

Junior Rob Pannell, the tournament's Most Valuable Player, scored five points with two goals and three assists despite being face-guarded most of the afternoon. All-tournament selection Steve Mock scored five times and David Lau was credited with two goals and two assists. JJ Gilbane also found the back of the net twice and Mitch McMichael had a goal and assist. In all, 10 different players registered at least one point and eight Big Red players caused at least one turnover. McMichael also won 3-of-5 face-offs and freshman Doug Tesoriero was incredible, winning 12-of-18 in the circle with eight ground balls. The Cornell defense caused 12 turnovers in front of sophomore AJ Fiore, who made eight saves and won three ground balls while allowing just five goals.

Harvard's Harry Krieger was solid in goal, registering 16 saves, nine of which came in the first half as he kept the Crimson within striking distance. Matt Hull led the offense with three goals and an assist and Ryan Stevens notched two scores. Kevin Vaughan posted eight ground balls and two caused turnovers from his midfield position.

The Big Red jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but the Crimson rallied to tie the game early in the second quarter. The low-scoring affair saw Pannell score the first goal after holding off a defender on a crease roll, hesitating for a second and shooting the ball past Krieger. A broken play put the Big Red up 2-0, as Lau picked up a checked ball and threaded the needle to Mock, who put the ball in the back of the cage to make it 2-0 with 6:21 left in the first.

The Crimson scored with 5:11 left in the first, then again with 11:45 remaining on the clock in the second to knot the game. Hull scored the first goal, with Stevens registering the second score.

With both teams defenses and goalkeepers playing near-perfect games, the decisive play may have been the three minute unreleasable penalty with 2:46 to play in the half. The Big Red scored twice to turn a 2-2 game into a 4-2 advantage heading into the break. Both McMichael and Bremner scored on the extra-man, with McMichael assisting on Bremner's goal. The Big Red was playing 5-on-4 on the extra-man, as Harvard decided to continue to faceguard Pannell in the man-down. The junior pulled himself out of the offense and stood in the corner, allowing Cornell even more space in the attacking zone.
Cornell took possession in the third with 14 seconds left on the extra-man advantage and was able to cap the penalty with another score as Pannell took the ball in, skirted a double-team and found Mock to make it 5-2 just 10 seconds into the half.

The Crimson earned its first extra-man opportunity with a one-minute chance at the 14:34 mark, but a Fiore save and a Big Red clear allowed the penalty expired. On the other end, Lau found Mike O'Neil to make it 6-2 with 13:02 left.

The Crimson got the last goal back on the extra-man when Stevens found Hull for a quick bounce shot that got the visitors back within 6-3, but JJ Gilbane extended the lead back to four goals with 8:26 remaining in the third, his second goal of the tournament and first of the day.

Harvard got back on the board when Terry White fired a shot past Fiore on the move with more than five minutes left in the half, but Cornell went on a 4-0 run to blow open the contest early.

Pannell got the ball rolling with a great look to Lau, who buried the shot and was hit after the play to draw a penalty. Cornell's initial shot was saved, but the clear was checked away and Mock picked up the loose ball. He beat a retreating Krieger to the goal and fired it in to make it 9-4. After winning the ensuing faceoff, Cornell made it three in a row when Lau's quick crease roll led to a fast shot and a 10-4 Big Red advantage heading into the final quarter. Jack Dudley capped the run when he scored on a bullet shot off a pass from Lang to make it an 11-4 game with just 13:15 remaining to play.

Just over two minutes later, Hull responded for the visitors before Cornell again took control. Another Harvard failed clear led directly to the Big Red's 13th goal, as Gilbane picked up a blocked pass and hit on a tough-angle shot. Less than 10 seconds later, the Big Red won a face-off and streaked in for a goal as Pannell found Mock for the sophomore's fifth score of the contest to make it 14-5 with just under eight minutes to play.

Pannell made it 15-5 with a low bounce shot to give him yet another five-point day with 6:24 remaining to ice the game. Harvard scored its final goal on the man advantage when Hull completed his hat trick with 2:09 left on the clock.