ITHACA, N.Y. – The message all week in practice was simple – “Have no fear of failure.” With that sentiment ringing in their ears, the No. 4 Cornell men’s lacrosse team took control of the game early on and never looked back as it upset No. 1 Princeton, 10-7, in front of 8,026 fans at Schoellkopf Field. With the win, the Big Red guarantees itself at least a share of its seventh-straight Ivy League title, the longest current stretch by any men’s lacrosse team in any conference.
“The energy of this team, especially our seniors, gave us a chance to be in this game early,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “I thought that the intelligence of the offense, to possess the ball and not take shots unless they were good ones really gave us a chance to settle in defensively and put them on their heels in their defensive end.”
Cornell jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and then possessed the ball for all but 65 seconds in the final period to take the victory.
“It’s really a great win for our program,” added Tambroni. “We’re excited about it and now looking forward to thinking about Brown.”
The victory today sets up an opportunity for an outright conference title as the Big Red travels to Brown next weekend for its final Ivy League contest against the Bears on Saturday, April 25, at 1 p.m.
Cornell used a well-balanced effort on offense, with seven players accounting for 10 goals. Ryan Hurley led the pack with three goals, while Rob Pannell registered three points off one goal and two assists. Max Seibald tallied twice, while Rocco Romero added a goal and an assist. Cornell also received goals from Jon Thomson, George Calvert and Roy Lang.
John Glynn, who tallied one assist on offense, was the difference-maker in the game, winning 13-of-18 face offs to go along with a career-high 11 ground balls.
In goal, Jake Myers was solid, making seven saves, including two critical stops in the final moments of the third quarter to preserve a two-goal Big Red lead entering the final quarter.
Princeton (10-2, 3-1) was led by Mark Kovler’s three goals. Jack McBride, Chris McBride, Josh Lesko and Greg Seaman also scored for the Tigers.
In goal, Tyler Fiorito made nine saves.
Cornell (9-2, 5-0) held the advantage in shots (34-24) and ground balls (29-12), while winning 14-of-19 face-offs. The Big Red also went 2-for-6 on the extra-man, while holding Princeton to an 0-2 performance.
Both teams were solid on their clears, with the Tigers going 15-of-16 and Cornell clearing 13-of-14.
Pannell opened the scoring for Cornell when he rolled around the right side of the cage, turned back, eluded two Princeton defenders and bounced a shot past Fiorito. Hurley quickly made it a 2-0 Big Red lead as he dodged to the goal and scored from the doorstop at the 12:13 mark.
Romero stretched the lead to 3-0 just two minutes later when he streaked in front of the Princeton goal, caught a pass from Glynn in stride and buried it in the back of the net.
Princeton caught the Big Red in an unsettled situation after a Big Red turnover deep in the Tigers’ end saw Fiorito come up with the loose ball. The keeper streaked over midfield before dishing off to Tommy Davis, who found Lesko all alone in front of the Big Red cage to give the visitors their first goal.
Seibald responded immediately, taking the ball up top, dodging past his defender and blasting a rocket from 15 yards out into the lower right corner of the goal, making it a 4-1 game with 3:34 to play in the first quarter.
The Tigers scored with two seconds remaining in the opening stanza as Kovler made it a 4-2 game at the first break.
Cornell wasted little time scoring at the start of the second quarter as Romero found Hurley all alone on the right wing. Hurley took one step and buried a 10-yard shot to make it a 5-2 Big Red advantage.
Princeton fought right back with back-to-back goals by Kovler and Chris McBride to make is a one-goal game with 2:42 remaining in the second period.
The teams traded possession several times in the closing minutes before a Cornell turnover returned the ball to the Tigers with 1:00 remaining, but a solid save by Myers in the final seconds ended the Princeton threat.
The Big Red opened the third quarter with a 30-second man-up opportunity and Thomson converted off a pass from Pannell to make it a 6-4 game. Just over three minutes later, Lang pushed the Cornell lead back to three goals when he bull-rushed over his defender and ripped a 10-yard shot past Fiorito.
A pair of goals by Kovler and Seaman made it a 7-6 game, but the ball bounced Cornell’s way as a shot by Calvert, off a pass from Chris Ritchie, hit the cross bar and bounced down into the net to make it an 8-6 game at the 6:14 mark.
The teams traded a pair of long possessions and the quarter ended with a pair of brilliant saves from Myers, at close range, to send Cornell into the final intermission with an 8-6 lead.
The Big Red opened the final quarter with a possession that lasted 6:33 and ended when Seibald blasted a 15-yard rocket past Fiorito, bringing the 8,026 fans in attendance to their feet.
“The crowd was getting louder with each shot,” said Glynn. “When Max stuck it, it was a huge release of all that emotion.”
Cornell won the ensuing face-off and used another 1:37 off the clock before a turnover gave the Tigers the ball for the first time. Princeton kept the ball for just eight seconds before a turnover, caused by Calvert, gave the ball back to the home team.
A man-up goal by Hurley, off a pass from Pannell, gave Cornell its largest advantage of the day, 10-6, with 5:42 to play.
Once again, Glynn won the face-off and the Cornell offense went back to work, eating valuable time off the clock. The Big Red took the clock down to 1:26 before an effective Princeton double-team caused a turnover.
Twenty seconds later, Jack McBride scored off a pass from Rich Sgalardi, but Princeton would not possess the ball again as Cornell took the 10-7 victory.
|Ryan Hurley||(3, 0)|
|Rob Pannell||(1, 2)|
|Max Seibald||(2, 0)|
|Rocco Romero||(1, 1)|
|George Calvert||(1, 0)|
|Christopher Ritchie||(0, 1)|
|John Glynn||(0, 1)|
|Chris Finn||(0, 1)|
|Jonathan Thomson||(1, 0)|
|Roy Lang||(1, 0)|
|Jake Myers||7 (0.500)|