March 29, 2014

Brown Edges Princeton in Ivy League Home Upset

by Kat Hasenauer Cornetta | | Twitter

In-Game Blog Replay


Providence, R.I. - If Brown was going to pull off the upset of 12th ranked Princeton Saturday afternoon at their home Stevenson Field, it was going to need to limit the Tigers' opportunities by dominating faceoffs early and often.

Thankfully, it is an area head coach Lars Tiffany believes the Bears have improved the most at this season, and it showed. Thanks to Tommy Capone winning 13 of 23 faceoffs for the Bears (6-3, 1-1 Ivy), they were able to overcome Princeton's fourth quarter comeback to upset the Tigers (4-4, 1-2 Ivy), 11-10. It was Brown's first win over their Ivy League foe since 2008.

"As we saw today, being able to win possession of the ball is absolutely critical when you are playing a team with a high powered offense like Princeton does," said Tiffany. "The whole key was being able to limit the offensive chances Princeton had, and we were able to do that."

Capone won the opening faceoff for Brown, and they planted themselves in the Princeton zone early. A Brandon Caputo laser from the left side of Princeton goalie Matt O'Connor notched the game's first goal.

After Tim Jacob snagged a Princeton turnover, Kylor Bellistri followed up quickly with a shot off a right side of the net to put the Bears up 2-0.

The Tigers put their Ivy League leading man-advantage team to work on a body check call on Brown's Philip Pierce that spanned the closing seconds of the first quarter and the top of the second. Princeton's Tom Schreiber scored the extra-man goal just 28 seconds into the second to get the Tigers on the board.

Setting the tone for the rest of the game, Brown took little time to answer a Princeton score. Caputo found a hole across O'Connor's left side, and shot diagonal to put Brown up 3-1. A minute and a half later, Molloy scored his second of the game, dodging three Princeton sticks in his face to shoot hard into the net.

That scoring pace continued. Taking advantage of a Brown turnover, Princeton's Jake Froccaro brought the game within two with a shot center right on Brown goalie Jack Kelly. The Bears answered with Bellistri's second goal of the game a minute later. 40 seconds later, Princeton's Mike MacDonald answered, bringing his team within two of Brown and keeping his scoring streak (now at 23 games) alive. Caputo reestablished a comfortable margin for Brown, shooting a goal high past O'Connor to make it 6-3 with seven minutes left in the half. Rain caused sloppy play leading into halftime.

Princeton wasted no time coming out of halftime, and Tiffany and his Bears noticed. "Princeton came out of that half, and you could tell they had a different energy,"

Determined, the Tigers' Kip Orban scored just 1:01 into the second half, adding to his goal streak (one in each of his last 20 games) going. Brown answered with two goals within 50 seconds, but Princeton's Schreiber didn't let the game get out of control, scoring to hold Brown's lead at three. Kelly got his stick on a promising Schreiber threat on a Princeton man-advantage. A low shot by Sam Hurster bounced off of O'Connor's foot, pushing Brown's lead to 9-5. Kelly and O'Connor displayed a stellar series of saves to keep the quarter's last seven minutes scoreless.

Molloy notched a quick goal to start the fourth quarter, skipping twice into a perfect lane and shooting over O'Connor's shoulder. Princeton then set up in the Brown zone, testing Kelly, who made five quick saves in the quarter's first ten minutes. The Tigers' shooting gallery on Kelly meant that Brown was losing the possession game, something they ended up paying for.

With just over six minutes to go in the game, Tucker Shanley finally got a shot past Kelly to start a Princeton comeback. Shanley was cross-checked after the goal, handing possession right back to the Tigers. Froccaro and Ambler would score two more within the next minute to bring their team within three.

Brown's Tyler Landis scored on a low shot to give the Bears a 11-8 lead. MacDonald received a smart pass from Zach Currier shortly after to pull the Tigers within two. Brown won the resulting faceoff after Princeton jumped, but the Tigers' got the ball back on an untimely Bears turnover and called a timeout with 3:30 left. Coming out of the timeout, Schreiber shot on the right side of Kelly to cut Brown's lead to just a goal.

Princeton took two quick shots before handing Brown a man-advantage with just 2:24 left. O'Connor snagged the ball on a Molloy shot and cleared it with 1:01 left, but Princeton's last two shot attempts went wide or bounced off the crossbar, preserving the Brown win.

Kelly finished the game with 16 saves. Tiffany credits assistant Kip Turner for not just making sure Kelly could come up big when the game got close, but for the faceoffs that limited the action in front of Kelly's net early.

"As an assistant coach, he has really developed into being more than just a goalie coach to helping out with the offense," said Tiffany. "He does a great job of coaching both of the speciality areas, in faceoffs and goalie play, two of the most critical unique positions in the game of lacrosse."

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