Cornell got the action rolling with an extended possession to start the first that saw a flurry of iso's from up top, none of which had any ball-hogging involved -- Cornell's middies would take a whirl on a split dodge or two, get pushed out, dump it off, take a whirl, rinse, repeat. After about 2:00 minutes of that, JP Schalk drove from the lefty shooter's spot into the middle, rolled back to the wing once he felt the pressure, and overhanded one, righty and low, past Gould. It seemed to catch someone at the ankles and then dribble in. Cornell controlled again after the next face, but Princeton's Joe Rosenbaum picked JP Schalk behind the neck at the top of the box as Schalk was driving right. Damien Davis grabbed the loose ball and legged it out for the clear, but as he dumped it off to one of his middies at the top of the other box, Cornell's George Boiardi came flying into the action on a sub and snagged enough of Brad Dumont's stick from behind to force his sideline pass out of bounds.
That action would start a series of great defensive fronts. Dumont attempted several drives from up top, but Cornell's interior collapsed in Princetonian fashion anytime Dumont managed to get a lane, and all of Dumont's dumps to Prager in the middle were met by vicious second and third slides that made it seem like Prager somehow caught a buddy pass. Then Cornell gave a concerted, persistent dodging effort on their own end, but were continually shoved out to the perimeter by the likes of Lieberman, Baugher, and Rosenbaum until it headed the other way on a ward-off from Andrew Collins. When the ball came down Princeton's throat a little later, both Lieberman and Ricky Schultz doubled Galen Beers up top on his goat-or-glory drive (Beers in not exactly a big fan of passing) and stripped him from behind after he got his elbow lifted and his forward movement held up.
After the transition down the left side, Dan Clark was camped out in the middle. He took a pass from Josh White as White was burning down the left side, caught it righty, then rotated all the way around to get off a righty shot that beat Cynar stick side low and tied it up at one apiece. Soon after, on quick ball movement around the horn, Cornell's Andrew Collins found himself just off the pipe to Gould's right, and with the entire Princeton defense hung up on the other side of the crease. The ball got bumped to Collins for a one-on-one waltz around the corner with Julian Gould. Needless to say, someone on Princeton missed a slide. With the seconds dwindling on the quarter, Cornell's Ryan McClay got nabbed for a :30 interference that Princeton capitalized on. White again found space in the middle and threaded it to Dumont for a 2-2 tally and an end to the first.
The action for both squads to this point was a departure from what I was expecting; while there wasn't much in terms of a transition game (mostly due to good coverage and anticipation), it was a far cry from the 'deliberate' offenses some of the parties involved have been known to employ. Everyone was taking it to the hoop, and doing it often.
Cornell kicked off the second with a devastating split to the right from JP Schalk operating at the top of the box. He dumped it to Collins in the middle on the slide, but Collins bounced it wide on the redirect. Oddly enough, Princeton's defense had missed several second and third slides over the last five minutes or so -- there were Cornell crease hangers that had plenty of room as long as someone dodging from the wings could get a step and force the first slide. Cornell's defense was still collapsing in the middle though, but it didn't matter on the Tigers' next trip down. Sean Hartofilis took a whirl from the lefty shooter's spot, and with his standard Marechek stick-at-the-hip look, drove into the middle looking to shoot. As he pressed, literally about four guys from Cornell jumped him. With no other option than to shoot, given where his stick was trapped, Hartofilis let loose an underhanded lefty rip that pinged the top right corner and stunned pretty much everyone in attendance, but especially Justin Cynar. 3-2 Princeton.
Cornell took control after the next face and set up in a 2-3-1 with Beers patrolling the top of the box and looking for set-ups. The ball movement was sharp, and Cornell was getting Princeton to move their feet, but Mike Riordan got a little bit of the jitters while working from X and eyeing some openings in the middle. He pulled the trigger a little too soon though, and his feed to no one landed softly on the turf, allowing Damien Davis to vacuum up the floater for a coast to coast clear. He flipped it to Josh White on the left, but because of a subbing snafu, no one on Cornell saw fit to pick up White -- he skipped in as far as the defense would allow, while winding up, but his rip to the top corner sailed a little high. Cornell cleared and suffered another errant point blank shot from Collins when Justin Redd worked the right side and found Collins for a no-brainer right on the doorstep. Then Gould pulled out his bag of tricks, on the same Cornell offensive, when turning away a barrage of shots from Beers, Collins, and one off of a rebound.
Princeton would push the score to 4-2 immediately after; Prager grabbed a loose ball (sort of a Trevenen feed) off to his left and buried it right before getting plastered. Then Drew Casino (who did a great job on face-offs all afternoon) sidestepped to his right just inside the box and nailed the crossbar on a long, high bouncer that had Cynar beaten. Josh White was off to Cynar's left right outside the crease, and while Cynar was scrambling to find the loose ball, White quickly gathered it and looked like he had a gimme, but his cleanup shot sailed wide left.
It would hurt the Tigers. Cornell closed to within one when Justin Redd took the ball at the top of the box and rolled left. He let one fly from a decent enough distance, but there were a lot of bodies in front of him. So when Davis finally snagged the loose ball amid the fracas just outside of the crease, Sean Greenhalgh swatted at his stick, and Davis lost control. Problem was that the ball flew into the back of the net. 4-3 Princeton and time was waning on the half. Some hurried, forced attempts ensued on both offensive ends, but coupled with several overthrows, some lengthy ground ball fights, a shooting that was a little off the mark, nothing more came of the second period.
It took a little time for Princeton to get the blood flowing, but once they found their rhythm the floodgates opened for them, both offensively and defensively. Casino won the face to start the third and Princeton pushed hard, but Cornell's interior wasn't allowing them to break into the middle. Tim DeBlois initiated the clear for the Big Red after an eventual loose ball, and dropped it off to Billy Fort. Fort would manage to draw two flags on his possession, one on Baugher for a hold and then one on Davis for unnecessary roughness (a late hit) after Fort drove the pipe and fired wide with the first flag down. On Cornell's EMO however, Brian Lieberman disrupted a feed from X to one of the top corners (Princeton and Cornell both had active sticks in the middle all day) and Lieberman bolted for a solo coast to coast that had Cornell's longsticks thinking he would eventually dump it off (seeing as Princeton was two men down). He didn't, and in fact kept coming right don the pipe, but Lieberman's bouncer had a little to much english on it and sailed high. He did succeed in screwing up Cornell's ride enough that Cornell got hit with a :30 offsides penalty, which was enough for Princeton to diffuse the flags against them.
When the full strength action resumed, Cynar was forced to make a beaut of a kick save (or rather a painful meaty thigh save, judging from the sound). But the ricochet took it up to the midfield, where Boyle went flying after it and came up with it in the middle of the fray. When he coasted back down the middle, looking to feed off to his left, he must not have been paying attention to Cornell's Josh Heller lurking in the middle of the hole. That's because Heller absolutely crushed Boyle, de-cleating him and leaving him a little blurry eyed. But Heller was punished by the refs for lifting in the off-season and got flagged for some made up call -- it was basically 1:00 minute for hitting Boyle too hard. Heller, McClay, and others were rightly incredulous.
Princeton then began their five goal tear that would seal the game's outcome. Dan Clark drove hard to Cynar's right against a shorti, but when it looked like his lack of angle meant he was going to bump it behind to X, he suddenly extended for a righty ping to the top corner. 5-3 Princeton. The next face saw an extended scuffle, but Greg Golaszewski managed to come up with the loose ball. He glided into the middle with a fully cocked stick and nailed the top right corner on a running bouncer (Princeton must have really been practicing bouncers to the top corner this week). 6-3 Princeton. Cornell had a little time to work some offense, something that would be a little scarce for them in the third, but after Schalk took a painfully weak outside shot from off to the left, Gould thanked him, caught it and cleared. As the ball got pushed up the left wing, Trevenen drove hard towards the left pipe. Most of Cornell's longsticks gravitated to that side, so Trevenen quickly pushed it to Boyle at X, and Boyle was already drifting around to the other pipe. Because Cornell had shifted a little too far on Trevenen's dive bomb, there was some confusion as to who should pick up Boyle coming around the pipe. Two guys went, so Boyle just dumped it a little higher up to Hartofilis, where Hartofilis had more than enough time to wind up and nail one lefty. 7-3 Princeton. On the next face, Casino gained possession so quickly and cleanly that it looked as the ref had just given him the ball and told him to go -- he stood up with the ball in the back of his stick and took off. Princeton's attack was set in a triangle, so Casino hit Boyle on the point, Boyle whipped it to Hartofilis off to his right, and Hartofilis put it home lefty. 8-3 Princeton. Casino again on the face, and Boyle controlled on the right wing, drifting in and out on Ryan McClay. As Boyle approached goal-line extended in a constant jog that must have infuriated McClay (Boyle has near perfect stick protection), McClay started throwing the kitchen sink on Boyle. It allowed Boyle to get a step as McClay went to lift the butt end on a behind-the-knees check, and Boyle took the step to sneak underneath McClay along the goal line. Boyle popped it into his left hand as came above the goal line and stuck it by Cynar. 9-3 Princeton. The third was coming to a close, and Boyle was still handling the ball behind, moving in one gear and methodically looking to exploit any impatience on the part of Cornell. Princeton was able to rip off a host of shots until Prager was caught handling the ball behind with Brandon Hall all over him. Hall got Prager running for his life and worried enough about ball protection for McClay to come on a double and finish the job, and with it a 5-0 quarter in Princeton's favor. In fact, Cornell barely even got a good shot off in the third.
The Tigers pushed the lead further, to 10-3, on Josh White's dash down the right wing for an overhanded blast. He just got a step on his man up top, nothing fancy. But Cornell would put together a surge that eventually had the Big Red crowd back in it. It started on an Andrew Collins goal from a Galen Beers feed, but I couldn't see what happened. When Princeton controlled after the next face, an errant shot was legged out to the endline on a great effort by Frank Sands, and Cynar threaded it up to JP Schalk at the midfield for a quick clear. Schalk tossed it to Beers at the top of the key, and Beers embarked on an insane, blinders-on drive through the middle with Rosenbaum all over his arm (I still have a hard time believing Beers really had an assist on the previous goal). Beers had to pull up a little in the face of an oncoming slide, and Rosenbaum lifted Beer's elbow to the sky, forcing the ball to take a really high bounce after getting dislodged. Beers, with his back to the goal about five yards out and the ball a little above his head, slapped at the loose ball with the back of his stick and past an unawares Julian Gould for a 5-10 deficit. The Big Red came even closer on the next series when Justin Redd took it from the top against Owen Daly and just flat outran him to the right. Redd launched an overhanded righty bullet to the bottom left corner. The crowd was now alive and the drunk Cornell students behind me were heckling Damien Davis again.
Davis drew a slash call (and more heckling) on Galen Beers' black hole drive into the middle (did I mention Beers doesn't pass?) but nothing came of the EMO. At a little over 6:00 minutes to go, Princeton regained possession and was now in full stallball mode, but a pass that sailed high along the sidelines gave the Big Red another go at it without a couple of minutes drained from the clock. Another Damien Davis slash on another Beers drive for a 1:00 EMO. Cornell was able to unload some outside shots, mostly by skipping passes across the top and letting them fly from the shooter's spots on the wings, but all were either off the mark or too weak from that far out to really challenge Gould.
Princeton regained the ball and dropped into their perimeter stall, which Cornell immediately attacked with doubles. Josh Heller stripped the ball along the goal line with a nice over-the-head, but Princeton's Josh White was right there for the garbage collection. Cornell's interior broke out upon the strip and didn't recover on White's gb, so when White saw Brad Dumont sitting in the middle with room it was a done deal. Dumont just caught and fired from 7 yards out like it was practice. 11-6 Princeton.
Cornell got some time on offense after the next face, but they never backed up an outside shot, so the Tigers were able to clear and call time-out with about 2:30 to go. Princeton was laying the stall on thick, but Cornell took it for granted that Princeton had no intention of scoring even if the opportunity was staring them in the face -- they were wrong. On an aggressive double, Boyle found Prager in the middle for a 12-6 lead.
The rest of game was just killing time at this point, but Cornell did manage to get another on the board when Justin Redd split left on a drive at the top of the box and put one by Gould on the run. 12-7 final.
Princeton vs. Cornell