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Cornell Collapse

Cornell’s attempt to win their first title since 1978 falls short. Cornell had played brilliantly for the past 175 minutes. In their wins over Princeton, and UVA, Cornell controlled play from whistle to whistle. Even in the Championship game, Cornell looked dominating until the last 3:47 of the game.

John Glynn opened up the scoring with the first two Cornell goals, as it looked like it was going to be a long day for the Syracuse faithful. Syracuse finally got on the board with 5:46 left on a play that would epitomize Syracuse’s day. Daniello shot and was stuffed by Cornell goalie Jake Myers. In the ensuing scrum for the rebound behind the net, Daniello scooped up the ball drove around the other side of the cage and scored. Cornell would win the strategic game play, but SU would win the unsettled situations.

Each team would ad one more goal, so at the end of the first quarter it was 3-2 Cornell. While time of possession is not an official stat, by my estimate it would have been 10 minutes Cornel to 5 Syracuse.

Cornell was methodical as their defense started playing a very tight zone. This kept SU from getting any good scoring chances in tight. Their offense was virtually running the clock. For all you youngsters out there, Cornell is a prime example of why backing up a shot is necessary. On almost every shot that went out, Cornell got the ball back.

The second quarter saw much of the same, as Cornell added another 3 goals and Syracuse 2, making it 6-4 Cornell at the half. Syracuse’s defense looked sluggish. They just weren’t getting it done at this point, and their man-down defense that had been so good all year was 50% as Max Seibald connected on an EMO chance in the 2nd.

The third quarter was boring. Cornell dominated the clock however, after halftime, SU’s defense seemed to wake up. Cornell only netted one goal in the third quarter and did not convert on their two EMO opportunities. While Syracuse only had 3 shots, one of them went in from Josh Amidon. At the end of the third, it was 7-5 Cornell.

All year long Syracuse scored in surges. Typically it came in the late second or third quarters. They might average 1-2 per quarter and then all of a sudden nail 4 in a short span of time.

In the fourth quarter, there seemed to be no spurt. When Roy Lang scored to put Cornell up by 3 with 5:31 remaining in the game, some even in the press box started to write Syracuse off…literally prepping their stories for how Cornell broke into the Fab4 of lacrosse. The SU faithful kept holding on for that late spurt. And then it came.

Tierney came with an over the head check on a Cornell player stripping the ball leading to a Hardy to Keogh goal. Syracuse was down by 2. Less than a minute later, Amadon found Cody Jamison for another goal. Syracuse down by 1 with 2:46 left.

The last 35 seconds of the game should be immortalized. Syracuse had the ball on offense and threw the ball away with less than 30 to go in the game. It all but sealed the fate of the game. Cornell had to clear the ball from their end line.

Max Seibald passed the ball up to defenseman Matt Moyer. Kenny Nims was all over Moyer, and in one fleeting diving check, knocked the ball loose. Somehow Keogh got the loose ball and hurled it up to anyone. Matt Abbott pulled the ball in and cheaped another pass in the general direction of the goal. The ball was tipped off of Cornell Middie Roy Lang’s stick right to Nims who gets a falling shot past Jake Myers for the game tying goal with 4 seconds left.

Sudden Death

Cornell won the faceoff and in a move I can not understand, they did not call a time out to set up a play and halt the SU momentum that had been building up. Instead Sid Smith stripped the ball giving possession to Syracuse.

Hardy drove in and looked like he wanted the take. As Cody Jamison’s defender slid to pick up Hardy, Hardy passed to Cody sitting on the side of the goal for an easy goal to win it in OT.

Syracuse won their 11th title. Cornell was denied history. Max Seibald will forever be haunted by the number 4. Max Seibald said, “Four seconds away … It seems to be a number that haunts us. When we sophomores, that was the number on the board when Duke scored on us. That makes it even tougher for us.”

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I’m watching the D3 championship before heading out to film more of the tailgate show we do each year. Gettysburg leads Cortland 4-2. I was surprised to see Gettysburg make the final after watching them get hammered by Stevenson earlier in the year, but I really like Hank Janczyk, the Gettysburg Coach, so I am glad he’s in. I can’t root for anyone up here in the press box, but I would root for the Bullets if I did. On the other hand there’s a chance for a total run of the table by upstate New York as Syracuse plays Cornell tomorrow and LeMoyne and Cortland have opportunities to win titles today. Remember that Onondaga already won the JUCO title last week. I’m not from upstate but I wouldn’t mind seeing them take all the titles again, rewarding the blue collar style of lacrosse they play up there.

I predicted Virginia to crush Cornell, but am so glad the opposite occurred. I really think certain sacrifices were made at Virginia over the last two years in the quest for a title that were errors in my judgment. A well rounded team with lots of experience would perhaps been able to recover against Cornell, but the guys with the skills to make that comeback were on the bench as they have been all year. I have nothing against the Brattons, either of them. But, neither has the abilities to carry a team to a title. That was obvious to me years ago when they played U-19 and should not have made that team. There are much better players, in my opinion, riding pine for UVa so that the twins can learn, on the field, things these other kids have known since 8th and 9th grade. This year, I thought UVa had enough talent all around to win anyway, but obviously not. If the Tewaaraton folks were watching I also think Glading is out of the running, as is Duke’s Ned Crotty as far as I am concerned. Enter Cornell’s John Glynn, who dominated Virginia even with an elbow injury. He’s not a finalist for the Tewaaraton award, but his excellent play may end up helping teammate Max Seibald win the award.

Cornell has a history of playing Syracuse tough so that may just be a great game and may even be a Cornell championship, which would be huge for the game and it’s escape from the grasp of the elite teams we see win year in and year out. So while I love the ‘Cuse and have since I was a kid, I want Cornell to win.

A few notes from the event in general. Yesterday, we tried to interview a guy leaving the Cornell Virginia game carrying a huge stuffed bear on his back. But when we caught up with him and asked for an interview after the Cornell win, he refused. No wonder. He was wearing Virginia shorts and shirt and had obviously stolen the bear mascot and was making an elusive exit from the stadium. I am sure that some Charlottesville frat house will be the new home of the Cornell bear. Some small consolation for a loyal fan who drove 10-15 hours to see his team choke.

There’s a guy for CBS College Sports on the field carrying a 50 pound TV camera on his back as he roams the sideline and runs on the field for close ups after goals and such. He will shoot both the D2 and D3 games with that monstrosity on his back. He is my MVP of the event. He just narrowly beats the excellent and friendly staff at Gillette Stadium. For the second year in a row they have performed exceptionally. One friendly employee really helped us out in navigation the complex parking lot to get from one spot to another amidst hectic traffic. She literally drove out of her way to let us follow her to the spot we needed to find. Thanks!

The press food at the D3 championship game is, for the first time ever, better than the D2 semis. I swear the chicken is garnished with leeks. There’s a Tomato and Mozzarella salad. I thought we might wait until San Francisco hosted the games in 2034 to get such fare at a lacrosse game. The pressure is on for Baltimore next year. I am thinking Crab dip and Berger Cookies.

The Patriot Place shopping area was completed in the off-season which makes the whole area a lot more convenient to be stranded for three days. An entire shopping mall and hotel complex now surrounds the stadium and the parking area seems to have doubled.

The only real mess up, from an organizational standpoint happened today, as the Sunday ticket received by all who bought the three day ticket package had the times of today’s games as 1:30 and 4:30 while the games really started at 12:00 and 2:30. The crowd has picked up considerably for the D3 game’s second half, many missing the first as they took their time getting to the venue because of the late start time they assumed was correct. Imagine sitting in a Denny’s eating your egg and bacon skillet while your team is playing without you after 8 hour drive to see the game.

I spoke to John Grant, Jr. and legendary Cornell coach Richie Moran today and they both love the D3 and D2 games. Jr. never goes into the D1 games, preferring the tailgate scene for Saturday and Monday. But he faithfully watches the Sunday games, saying they are just more exciting to watch. Coach Moran and I agreed that it’s the flaws that teams have and the exploitation of them that makes for great lacrosse and often at the D1 level, those are far and few between. It’s like the difference between college and pro basketball. I am addicted to college hoops and hate the pro game for exactly that reason and a couple others.

Yesterday, we passed an area where what looked like a carry on sized piece of luggage had been abandoned on the main concourse of the stadium. An announcement had been made to find the owner but the security around the bag was thick and dead serious, as it should be in a 50,000 person crowd with today’s post-911 sensibilities. So today, there are bomb dogs present at the venue. It feels weird but whatever they have to do for the safety of our community here in Foxboro, is ok with me.

Looks like Cortland is going to beat Gettysburg. It’s now 9-6 with 1:08 left and I am off to start today’s tailgate show. Talk to you tomorrow!

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