PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS RELEASE:
Princeton Falls To Notre Dame In NCAA Tournament
Perhaps the deficit wasn't large enough.
The Princeton men's lacrosse team has made a habit of coming back from huge fourth quarter deficits all season. In the opening round of the NCAA tournament, though, a one-goal margin after three proved to be too much.
Notre Dame goalie Scott Rodgers made five of his 14 saves in the fourth quarter and held Princeton without a goal for the final 22:13 and teammate David Earl scored five goals to lead the Fighting Irish to an 8-5 win over Princeton in front of 3,305 at the Class of 1952 Stadium. The win vaults ND into next Saturday's quarterfinals on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium to take on Maryland; Duke will take on the winner of Delaware-North Carolina in the other game in Princeton Saturday.
As for Princeton, the season ends at 11-5 with the first round loss. Along the way, Princeton earned a share of the Ivy League title and won the first Ivy League tournament.
"The finality of it is hard to stomach," said Princeton coach Chris Bates.
Princeton had outscored its opponents 53-33 after the third quarter this season, including 44-22 in the last 11 games. Princeton also had huge comebacks in the second half against Penn, North Carolina, Rutgers and Cornell twice, most recently a week earlier in the Ivy final.
Even when the Irish took the lead on a fast-break goal with 23 seconds left in the third, making it 6-5 heading to the fourth, Princeton seemed to be in perfect position.
Princeton would fall behind 7-5 after Earl's fourth goal 57 seconds into the fourth. By the time Earl scored into an empty net with 55 seconds left, Princeton had thrown 11 shots in the quarter at Rodgers, the 6-5, 255-pounder who came up huge.
"We have made a lot of fourth quarter comebacks," said Princeton goalie Tyler Fiorito, who made 11 saves of his own. "We had chances in the fourth, but Scott was great."
Notre Dame led 3-1 in the second quarter before Princeton scored three times in 1:55 to take a 4-3 lead at intermission. The Irish tied it less than two minutes into the second half, and Jack McBride then put Princeton back on top 5-4 midway through the quarter. For Princeton, it would be the final goal of the day.
McBride finished with two goals and three assists, while Rob Engelke scored twice and Paul Barnes added one. McBride finished the season first on the team with 35 goals and 51 points and second with 16 assists, and he heads into his senior year with 89 goals, 15th-best in program history.
"I think the foundation of the program is strong," said Bates, who finished his first year as Tiger head coach. "I feel badly for the seniors. I'm very proud of the way our team approached this season and let us coach them. It's difficult to sit here now, knowing that we did not advance."
Princeton has reached the quarterfinals 16 times in the last 21 years, including 16 of 17 when the quarterfinals are not at Princeton Stadium and now 0 for 4 when the quarters are in Princeton.
The Tigers graduate three starters - three year starter and captain Jeremy Hirsch on defense, four-year contributor Scott MacKenzie at midfield and Engelke on attack. Engelke, who had 15 goals and 21 assists for his career prior to this year, had 17 goals and 21 assists as a senior.
The Tigers do return an army of top players, including first-team All-Ivy selections McBride, Fiorito, defenseman Chad Wiedmaier and midfielder Mike Chanenchuk, second-team All-Ivy selections Long Ellis and Jeff Froccaro and honorable mention selection John Cunningham.
Photos by Zach Babo.
|Jack Mcbride||(2, 3)|
|Rob Engelke||(2, 0)|
|Paul Barnes||(1, 0)|
|Jimmy Davis||(0, 1)|
|Tyler Fiorito||11 (0.579)|