May 2, 2010

Courtesy of Cornell

PRINCETON, N.J. - The No. 10 Cornell men's lacrosse team took a six-goal lead into the fourth period and held off a late Princeton run to upset the No. 7 Tigers, 10-9, this afternoon in front of a nationwide ESPNU audience and 3,133 fans at the Class of '52 Stadium in Princeton, N.J. With the victory, the Big Red earns a share of its eighth straight Ivy League title, the longest current streak of any men's lacrosse program in any conference, and earns the top-seed in the inaugural Ivy League tournament. Cornell will look to avenge its loss to Brown when it hosts the fourth-seeded Bears on Friday, May 7 at Schoellkopf Field. Friday's other semifinal will feature Princeton and Yale. Game times are to be determined.

"I'm very pleased with the way our team competed today against a very talented and driven Princeton squad," said head coach Jeff Tambroni. "To their credit, Princeton didn't give up until the final seconds, but I'm proud of how our guys hung in there. I'm also very happy for our seniors, who will have one more chance to play on Schoellkopf Field after what was a disappointing loss last weekend."

Cornell (9-4, 4-2) was led by Ryan Hurley with two goals and two assists, while David Lau finished with two goals and one assist. Chris Ritchie and Roy Lang each tallied two goals as the Big Red's only other multi-point scorers.

Princeton (9-4, 4-2) got three goals from Mike Chanenchuk and two from Scott MacKenzie, while Jack McBride handed out two assists.

The Tigers held the edge in shots, 44-40, ground balls, 23-15, and won 12-of-21 face-offs, but Cornell was a perfect 17-of-17 on clears and turned the ball over just seven times, but not once in the second or third quarters. Princeton cleared the ball successfully just 12-of-16 times and had 11 turnovers, six of which were forced by Cornell.

Both teams got solid days from their goalies with AJ Fiore making eight saves for the win, while Tyler Fiorito stopped 15 in the lost.

The Big Red wasted little time, going up 4-0 at the end of the first quarter. Cornell got on the board just over one minute into the contest when Ritchie took a pass from Lau and buried a 12-yard shot that hit the lower left-hand corner of the goal.

Just over one-minute later, Hurley took the ball behind the crease, slipped his defender, rolled to the front of the net and scored from point-blank range to give the visitors an early 2-0 lead.

On Princeton's first possession of the game, Pierce Derkac forced a turnover when he checked a Tiger shooter, and the Big Red offense rewarded its defensive leader as Lau scored on the doorstep to put Cornell up, 3-0, with 10:43 to play in the first quarter.

After being unable to convert on a man-up opportunity, the Big Red forced a Princeton turnover and converted on the other end when Lang slipped past his defender and scored on the run to make it a 4-0 game.

Chanechuk scored on a brilliant low to high shot at the 9:20 mark to open the scoring in the second quarter but a man-up goal by Ritchie, who took a pass from Hurley, and beat Fiorito low on his stick-side to return the cushion to four goals with 6:29 to play.

Just over one minute later, Jeff Froccaro ripped a low bullet shot past Fiore, but the freshman goalie redeemed himself with a brilliant save on Princeton's next possession.

The team's battled back and forth for the next four minutes before a loose ball in transition was picked up by John Cunningham and the long pole beat Fiore down low to make it a 5-3 game with just 1:26 remaining in the second quarter.

The Big Red won the restart but a save by Fiorito sent the ball the other way and a Cornell penalty gave the Tigers a man-up opportunity for the final 10 seconds of the half.

Princeton opened the third quarter with 20 seconds remaining on a man-up opportunity but couldn't convert, and after holding the ball for over two minutes, the Tigers turned the ball over and Cornell scored on transition when Andrew MacDonald found Hurley on the doorstep.

Just under one minute later, the Big Red went up, 7-4, when Hurley sent a perfect pass to Steve Mock, who was camped right in front of the goal, and converted on the doorstep.

Ross Gillum gave Cornell a five-goal lead when he rolled around the net and ripped a no-look shot over Fiorito's left shoulder to make it an 8-3 lead at the 8:19 mark of the quarter. The play was set up by an amazing hustle play from Lang, who forced a turnover near midfield with a wrap-check.

The Big Red saw another man-up opportunity thwarted by a Fiorito save, but not to be outdone, Fiore made a brilliant save on the other end to give the ball back to Cornell.

An errant Big Red shot gave the ball back to Princeton with just under four minutes to play in third quarter but another great save by Fiore gave the Big Red possession and a spectacular pass from Rob Pannell set up a Lau goal to make it 9-3 with just 55 seconds to play in the quarter.

A penalty on the restart gave Cornell a man-up opportunity, which it carried over to the final stanza.

The Big Red killed nearly four minutes off the clock in the fourth period before a blocked shot sent the ball into the Princeton end and Chanenchuk ended the 20:38 Princeton scoring drought to make it a 9-4 goal with 10:48 to play in the game.

That goal opened a four-goal run by the Tigers over the span of three minutes to put the home team back in the contest, 9-7, with 7:44 to play.

Cornell ended the run when Princeton turned the ball over after winning the face-off, giving the Big Red the ball and Lang registered an unassisted goal at the 6:24 mark when he dodged past his defender and scored on a low-to-high shot, despite being knocked to the ground.

Once again, the Tigers won the face-off, but a solid defensive effort held Princeton off the board for nearly 1:30 before Chananchuk pinged the post to make it a 10-8 game with 4:56 to play.

Cornell won the restart, but a Max Feely shot hit the post and the long rebound set up a fast-break opportunity for Princeton. The Tigers couldn't convert, but were given a one-minute man-up opportunity with just over four minutes to play in the contest.

The Big Red killed the penalty but Alex Capretta scored with a long bomb into the upper corner of the goal to make it a one-goal game with 2:56 remaining.

Princeton won the ensuing face-off but a hit post was backed up by the Big Red to give the visitors possession at the 2:15 mark.

The game was fast and furious in the final moments of the game, with each goalie registering a save, before Cornell turned the ball over with 24 seconds to play.

Princeton got the ball into Chanenchuk's hands, but his shot went high with eight seconds to play and then Froccaro's last second shot hit the post as Cornell held on for the 10-9 victory.