May 1, 2010

Wild Ivies Yield Four-Way Tie; Cornell to Host

by Brian Delaney | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online | Cornell-Princeton Blog

Roy Lang's second goal in the fourth quarter proved to be the game-winner, as No. 10 Cornell beat No. 7 Princeotn, 10-9, on Saturday. The Big Red will be the top seed in the Ivy League tournament.

© Greg Wall

PRINCETON, N.J. -- The year of the first Ivy League men's lacrosse conference tournament will also be the year of the first four-way tie for the regular season title in 54 years.

After Saturday's three deciding results, the foursome of Cornell, Princeton, Yale and Brown finished 4-2 in league play in unquestionably the deepest, most parity-driven season of lacrosse in Ivy history. Fittingly, it seemed, each pivotal game Saturday was decided by a single goal.

In a pair of 1 p.m. starts, Yale topped Harvard 9-8, and Brown edged Dartmouth 10-9 in overtime on a goal by Thomas Muldoon to shore up the four postseason qualifiers. The only question left to decide was who would host.

No. 10 Cornell answered that question, barely, in its 5 p.m. game at seventh-ranked Princeton. Holding off a furious Tigers rally, the Big Red clinched the top seed by virtue of a tiebreaker and will host the league tournament after a 10-9 victory at Class of 1952 Stadium.

"I've never seen anything like what the Ivy League's been like this year," said Cornell coach Jeff Tambroni, whose program won a share of its eighth straight league championship.

Cornell entered the fourth quarter leading 9-3, but was outscored 6-1 over the final 15 minutes as the Tigers controlled the faceoff X. Freshmen Mike Chanenchuk and Jeff Froccaro had shot opportunities to tie the game in the final 15 seconds, but Chanenchuk's offering missed the net and Froccaro's nipped the pipe and squirted out of bounds while time ran out.

Cornell goalie A.J. Fiore said he couldn't tell if he got a piece of Froccaro's shot, but he heard it hit the pipe.

"I dont even know. I was so hyped up on adrenaline, it was like please hit me, hit the post, hit the net, go wide, do whatever you want, just dont go in the net," Fiore said.

Cornell will play Brown in the 1-4 game, a rematch of the Bears' 13-10 victory at Schoellkopf Field last weekend. Princeton, meanwhile, will face Yale for a shot in Sunday's championship. The Tigers beat the Bulldogs by a goal earlier this season.

The winner gets the league's automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.

"I thought momentum was with us, and I thought guys were making plays out there. The ground balls were going our way. But it just didnt happen," Princeton senior midfielder Scott MacKenzie said.

Princeton was held to scoreless droughts of 20:40 and 20:38 over the first three quarters, and Cornell pitched shutouts in the first and third quarters. The Tigers outshot Cornell 44-40, but only put 17 shots on cage.

Princeton got rolling in the fourth, as MacKenzie and Chanenchuk scored two goals each. Sophomore Roy Lang gave Cornell a brief respite with a tough, change-of-direction score off the dodge to make it 10-7 with 6:24 left. Princeton answered on goals by Chanenchuk and Alex Capretta, the latter coming with 2:56 remaining.

MacKenzie hit the crossbar shortly thereafter, and A.J. Fiore made a stop on Jack McBride with just under a minute to go.

Tambroni semi-joked afterward that hosting the tournament may not be a great thing, considering three of Cornell's four losses came at Schoellkopf Field. Regardless of where the tournament was going to be held, it became apparent over the last few weeks that teams one through six all were capable of winning two games in three days.

Saturday's outcomes only reinforced that notion.

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