April 25, 2009

Courtesy of Brown

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The No. 2 Cornell men's lacrosse team's bid for an undefeated Ivy League title came to an end this afternoon in front of a capacity crowd at Stevenson Field in Providence, R.I., as Brown goalie Jordan Burke made 18 saves to lead the No. 13 Bears to the 11-9 upset victory.

The Big Red, which assured itself a share of the conference crown when it defeated Princeton last weekend, falls into a temporary three-way tie for first place with Brown and the Tigers, who will play each other next Saturday. The game between the Bears and Princeton will determine the Ivy League's automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament, as a Tiger victory gives the bid to the Big Red, while a Brown victory sends the Bears to the tournament.

Cornell (9-3, 5-1) was led by Rob Pannell with two goals and one assist, while long stick midfielder Peirce Derkac tallied twice. Rocco Romero was the only other multi-point scorer for the Big Red with one goal and one assist. Cornell also received goals from John Glynn, Ryan Hurley, Max Seibald and George Calvert.

In goal, the Big Red got a solid game from goalie Jake Myers, who made 11 saves, including seven in the critical second half.

Brown (12-2, 4-1) was led by Andrew Feinberg's three goals and two assists, while Kyle Hollingsworth added three goals and one assist. Thomas Muldoon (two goals, one assist) and Reade Seligmann (one goal, two assists) chipped in three points apiece.

Cornell held the edge in shots (45-38) and face-offs (14 of 24), but the Bears had the advantage in ground balls (30-23). Brown also converted 2 of 4 man-up opportunities, while holding the Big Red to an 0 for 4 performance.

In a game that was played at a remarkably high-pace throughout, the teams combined for seven ties and four lead changes until Brown used a four-goal fourth quarter to earn the victory.

The action was fast and furious in the early going, but both teams received stellar play from their defensive units before Calvert slipped past his defender and scored over Burke's left hip at the 9:54 mark to put Cornell up, 1-0.

The lead was short-lived, however, as Hollingsworth and Feinberg gave Brown the 2-1 advantage with 6:15 left in the first quarter and the Bears defense was able to hold off the Cornell offensive pressure, thanks to four saves by Burke to close the quarter and preserve the home team's 2-1 lead at the first intermission.

Cornell wasted no time in evening the score at the start of the second quarter as Derkac picked up the ground ball off the face-off and bounced a shot past Burke with just 10 seconds gone. Less than 50 seconds later Glynn returned the 3-2 lead to the Big Red as he dodged to the cage and scored despite being knocked to the ground.

Hollingsworth, however, tied the game once again with a shot on the crease making it a 3-3 contest at the 12:56 mark. Pannell returned the lead to the visitors when he picked up an errant Hurley shot, rolled around the crease and beat Burke high. Hurley then got on the board when he buried a pass from Romero to make it a two-goal advantage for the visitors, 5-3, with just over 10 minutes to play in the second quarter.

Muldoon made it a 5-4 game when his close range shot was initially stopped by Myers, but had just enough power on it to trickle over the goal line. A brilliant save by Burke ended a Big Red man-up opportunity, but the Cornell defense responded by killing a Brown man-up opportunity. The offense then went to work, as Pannell stripped a Brown player with a tenacious ride, but Cornell was thwarted once again by a Burke save.

With 20 seconds left in the half, Brown had another outstanding opportunity to tie the game, but a save by Myers, followed by a crease violation, allowed the Big Red to run out the clock and take the slim 5-4 lead into halftime.

The Bears won the face-off to start the third quarter, but a brilliant doorstop save by Myers ended the threat and started the transition the other way. Burke answered with a save on the other end and once again gave the ball back to his offense. Another save by Myers was wasted when a turnover in the midfield allowed Muldoon to knot the game at 5-5 with 11:23 showing on the clock.

The action continued to run from end-to-end before Pannell returned the lead to the Big Red as he took a pass from Finn, rolled around the goal and scored on a jump shot, beating Burke up high. Six minutes later, a Brown possession was thwarted by a Myers save, who got help from Derkac, who kept the rebound out of the net.

Cornell worked the next two minutes off the clock, but a turnover led to a transition goal by Hollingsworth with 2:18 to play. Just over one minute later, Feinberg returned the lead to the home team for the first time since the end of the first quarter when he scored from point-blank range to make it a 7-6 game. With just 11 seconds left in the quarter, Pannell sent a cross field pass to Seibald, who converted, to send the game into the fourth quarter tied at 7-7.

Both teams battled back-and-fourth to start the final stanza before Brown earned a pair of back-to-back one-minute man-up opportunities. Myers picked off a pass, but Cornell wasn't able to clear the ball and just over one minute later, Feinberg converted the man-up goal to return the 8-7 lead to the Bears.

Cornell won the ensuing face-off and the quick shot by Glynn was backed-up by the home team, but a Brown turnover returned the ball back to the Big Red. Romero knotted the game at 8-8 with just over seven minutes to play when his initial shot was saved, but he beat Burke to the rebound and scored on an empty net.

For the first time all game, Brown put together a scoring run and it proved to be the difference. The run began with back-to-back goals by Seligmann and Schlesinger that gave Brown its first two-goal lead of the game with just under four minutes to play.

Another Cornell man-up opportunity was ended by a pair of outstanding saves by Burke and an empty net goal by Williams Brady made it 11-8 game before Derkac scored with four seconds remaining to account for the 11-9 final.

The Big Red returns to Ithaca next weekend for its regular season finale as it plays host to instate rival Hobart at Schoellkopf Field on Saturday, May 2 at 3:00 p.m.