Princeton Pushes Forward, 10-7 Over UMass

Princeton Pushes Forward, 10-7 Over UMass

Princeton Pushes Forward, 10-7 Over UMass

Princeton Pushes Forward, 10-7 Over UMass


Kolver Leads Princeton Past UMass, Into Quarterfinals

Mark Kovler's junior year ended early due to a broken ankle. The Princeton midfielder figured he might as well get his senior year to last as long as possible.

Kovler ripped off career-highs of five goals and six points and Rich Sgalardi added three goals and an assist to lead Princeton to a 10-7 win over UMass in the opening round of the NCAA men's lacrosse tournament in front of 2,310 at the Class of 1952 Stadium. Princeton improved to 13-2 overall, while UMass ends its season at 9-6.

Jim Connolly scored four goals on eight shots to lead UMass. The rest of the ECAC-champion Minutemen combined to score three goals on 27 shots.

The win vaults fourth-seeded Princeton into the quarterfinals against fifth-seeded Cornell this Saturday at Shuart Stadium at Hofstra University. Princeton and Cornell tied for the Ivy title, and the Big Red defeated the Tigers 10-7 in Ithaca four weeks ago.

"It was a tough game for us," said Princeton coach Bill Tierney. "It was a big mental hurdle. Now we know who's waiting for us. We know them and what they do, and they know us and what we do."

Kovler's five-goal day marked the ninth time a Princeton player has reached that many in an NCAA tournament game. It also gave him 33 goals for the year, tied for the second-highest total by a Princeton middie in a single-season with Bill Chaires in 1973, trailing only the 36 scored by Josh Sims in 2000.

"I didn't get to play at the end of last year," Kovler said. "We know getting a win in the tournament isn't something that just happens. We needed to play well in this game, and it was a good day for us."

Scott MacKenzie had a goal and assist for Princeton as nine of the 10 Princeton goals and 12 of the 13 Princeton points came out of the first midfield unit. Only Tommy Davis had a point on the attack unit, as Jack McBride was held without a goal for the first time this year.

"We knew they had great shooters," said UMass coach Greg Cannella. "No. 2 [MacKenzie] and No. 18 [Sgalardi] had more assists for the year than anyone on attack. We knew how good their midfield was."

Princeton and UMass were even at 1-1 after MacKenzie and Connolly scored in the first 7:20 of the game, but Princeton would score the next five, including four by Kovler, to take a 6-1 halftime lead. Princeton, in its last three games combined, has now allowed one first-half goal on 47 first-half shots.

UMass would get within three at 6-3, 8-5, 9-6 and 10-7 but would get no closer.

The game marked the end of the career of UMass goalie Doc Schneider, who made 13 saves in his final game. Schneider led the Minutemen to the NCAA final as a freshman in 2006.

Princeton goalie Tyler Fiorito made 12 saves in his first NCAA game. Fiorito was only the second  freshman ever to start an NCAA game in goal for the Tigers.

"Doc is tremendous," Tierney said. "He may be the best goalie in the country. If it's not him, maybe it's the guy we saw last week [Brown goalie Jordan Burke] or our guy [Fiorito]. Either way, Doc makes a lot of tough saves. He can turn the momentum in the game. It was really important that we got off to a good start."

Princeton improved to 3-0 all-time against UMass, all in the NCAA tournament.

The Tigers have won 16 straight games at Class of 1952 Stadium and are now 4-0 there in NCAA games.


Second Half Surge Not Enough As UMass Drops 10-7 NCAA Tourney Decision To #4 Seed Princeton

The Minutemen outscored Princeton 6-4 in the second half.

PRINCETON, N.J. - The UMass men's lacrosse team erased a five goal halftime deficit with a resurgent second half, but it wasn't enough as the fourth seeded Princeton Tigers held on for a 10-7 win in the NCAA First Round at Class of 1952 Stadium on Saturday. Jim Connolly was the story on the offensive end with a four goal effort, his 13th career hat trick (second in the NCAA Tournament), while fellow senior Doc Schneider ended his career with another outstanding 13-save effort. The Minutemen used two separate two-goal spurts in the third quarter to pull within three, but could never pull any closer. The loss ends the program's five-game winning streak in the NCAA First Round. The Minutemen conclude the season with a 9-6 record while Princeton advances to Saturday's NCAA Quarterfinal matchup against Cornell.

Tim Balise, Evan Blum, and Bobby Hayes added UMass' other tallies. Princeton was led by midfielder Mark Kovler's five goals. The Minutemen defense held the Tigers' attackmen to only one goal, by Tommy Davis. Defensemen Diogo Godoi held the Tigers' top scorer Jack McBride pointless while Travis Tripucka did the same to 23-point scorer Chris McBride.

After finding themselves down 6-1 at the half, the Minutemen came out from the locker room with a vengeance, scoring twice in the first 1:35 of the third quarter to cut the Princeton lead to 6-3. Balise started with a jump shot at 14:10 on a delayed penalty while Connolly beat Princeton goalie Tyler Fiorito low on the man-up at 13:25.

Princeton answered with two quick scores of their own, by Kovler and Rich Sgalardito to make it 8-3 at 6:45.  

UMass wouldn't go away, as Blum found the back of the net only 43 seconds later to make it 8-4. Connolly then scored his third of the game 1:02 after that at 5:00 to make it 8-5.

Davis became the first Princeton attacker to score as his tally at 2:22 gave Princeton a 9-5 lead after three quarters of play.

Connolly added his fourth of the day in the fourth quarter, converting an unsettled situation at 8:52 to pull UMass back to within three. Then the Minutemen had a long offensive possession trying to make it a two-goal game, but the possession was ultimately denied when a Rory Pedrick shot was denied.

Sgarladi added his hat trick goal and Hayes scored his first for the 10-7 final.

UMass came out strong with three shots on goal within the first six minutes, but Fiorito shut the door each time. It was the Tigers that got on the board first at the 11:44 mark behind a Sgalardi tally for a 1-0 lead.

Connolly tied the score at one at 7:20, finding the short side on a nifty right-handed shot. Princeton retook the lead at 2-1 when Kovler beat Schneider high after an impressive dodge.

Princeton controlled the second quarter of play with four unanswered goal for the 6-1 score heading into halftime. Scott Mackenzie's shot on the run gave the Tigers the 3-1 advantage. Kovler then netted his second and third goals of the game, both within 47 seconds to open up a 5-1 advantage.

Kovler netted his fourth goal after a frantic set of circumstances, which started with Schneider receiving a misconduct penalty after a controversial push call.

Final shots were 36-35 in favor of the Tigers while Schneider had 13 saves to Fiorito's 12. UMass dominated the ground ball battle, 35-19 while the Minutemen won 11-of-19 faceoffs, including a superb 8-of-9 effort from Anthony Toresco.

Photos by Zach Babo  

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Princeton vs Umass
    by (#191428) on 5/11/09 @2:00PM
In the 4th quarter Umass played the dirtiest game I have ever witnessed. It was plain that several of their players were attempting to injure Princeton personnel, culminated by the ejection of the worst violator. The Umass coach needs to get a grip on his team's sense of sportsmanship.
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    by (#178360) on 5/11/09 @7:42PM
definatley, the hole game the umass poles were throwing late crosschecks and #15 was an absolute dirtbag
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    by (#138145) on 5/12/09 @7:15PM
art kell is gonna be sick. he was only a freshman this year
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Princeton-Cornell Predictions?
    by (#136419) on 5/13/09 @3:28PM
What do you all think? The two teams shared the Ivy League Title, but Cornell beat Princeton during the regular season.
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