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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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Syracuse came back from a late 3 goal deficit to defeat Cornell in overtime.

Cornell should walk off the field with their heads held high.  They had a great season and Jeff Tambroni is obviously a good coach.  But they really blew their chance.  And it was some coaching mistakes that are probably most to blame.

Late game coaching mistakes

  1. With roughly 8 minutes left in the game Cornell was trying to kill time when they were on man-up offense.  There was then a 2nd penalty and they were still content to hold the ball.  Cornell was only up 1 goal at that point.  With a man advantage and 8 minutes left, they should be trying to score, regardless of the size of the lead.  They never even attempted a shot on the 1st man advantage.  Another goal sure would have helped.
  2. Not getting a shot off when there is a delayed flag.  This is one of the most common mistakes in lacrosse these days - at any level.  Where there is a flag down and play-on situation, it’s a free shot.  Almost any shot is a good shot.  If you start paying attention you’ll notice how infrequently teams get off shots when there is a play-on penalty.  Cornell missed two free shot opportunities.  The players should be coach to recognize these situations and shoot the ball!
  3. Cornell was up 1 goal with about 1:30 left in the game.  They had the ball in Syracuse’s box and just needed to run out the clock.  Cornell’s Roy Lang (who Quint Kessenich refered to as awkward) had the ball covered by Abbott.  It was clear Abbott was working to take the ball away and that Lang was in trouble.  Cornell should have take the timeout.  Even if it meant Syracuse put a pole on the ball don’t you like any matchup with Seibald, Glynn,  or any attackman better?
  4. With roughly 25 seconds left in the game Cornell was given possession behind their goal to clear the ball.  They weren’t setup, they pushed the ball up field using a defenseman to try and dodge. Cornell should have taken a timeout and setup a clear. Or even brought Seibald down to run the ball.  This was the most obvious mistake at the end of the game.
  5. [EDIT] - The commenter made a good point which was meant to be on this list. When you get the ball in OT you call a timeout if you don’t have the best matchup on the field.  No reason to save the TO in OT.

Yes hindsight is 20/20, and being the head coach of a college lacrosse team playing on Memorial day is a monumental task. But making a different coaching decision on any of those three key 4th quarter situations likely wins the game for them.

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!

Central New York Final

Cornell face Syracuse for the National title and bragging rights for the best in Central New York.
Cornell is just about an hours drive down Interstate 81.

Lax geek fact:
The last time Cornell was in the Championship game was in 1988. Which just happened to be against Syracuse. And in 1998 as well as 2009, Cornell defeated Virginia in the tournament to get to the title game. In 1998, Cornel beat UVA 19-6 before losing to Syracuse 8-13.

If Syracuse were to win, the running joke is that they would need the ring to be a toe ring, as they already have 10. If Cornell were to win, it would be the first time in 18 years someone other than UVA/Princeton/Syracuse/Hopkins has won.

These two teams have already faced each other this year. Syracuse won that contest 15-10.
In the previous meeting, Cornell scored early and inside, which happens to be one of my biggest disappointments about Syracuse all year. Cornell stayed with ‘Cuse for the first quarter and was tied 4-4. Then the Syracuse spurt occurred in the second and third quarters. Max Siebald was held to 1 goal and 1 assist, and Jake Myers had 10 saves and 15 goals against. If I were to just look at the last time they played each other, I would feel comfortable picking Cuse by 5 or 6.

However, I have seen Cornell live the past two weeks beat Princeton, and beat UVA. They look flawless. They are not making unforced errors. They are methodical in executing THEIR game plan. I believe in the UVA game, if it weren’t for Ghitelman making like a sieve and letting everything through, Cornell still would have won, but the score would have been at least a little closer.

Syracuse’s defense had been a worry for me, especially with having Sid Smith guard Ned Crotty. Smith performed exceedingly well, as did Galloway as SU clamped down on the defensive side of the field. But as is the MO with ‘Cuse, their aim is just to score as much as possible and hope it is enough.

This game is setting up to be a classic. Cornell is a good team and is playing hot right now. Syracuse is a great team that does make some mistakes. On one hand I would like to see Cornell break the strangle hold of 4. On the other hand, I have always been a Cuse fan as watching a Gait game got me into the sport (minus the Mikey years). I think Cornell has the talent and team play. They also have the momentum. Syracuse has the swagger. They have been here before…many many times.

In this game I am going to say that Cuse with their amazing amount of offensive weaponry proves to much to handle and wins by 2.

Perritt Shines in SU’s win over Duke…

Thoughts from Foxboro

Pat Perritt has been a work horse for the Syracuse Orange all year. His stats (13 Goals / 13 Assists / 14 Ground Balls) might not show a huge offensive threat, or an assist machine, but his play has been consistent and hard.

After coming into Syracuse as the number 4 recruit by Inside Lacrosse, Perritt had a lot to live up to. It was the supposed best recruiting class ever as the Orange had the #2, #3, #4 recruits.

His freshman year, he helped the Orange get to the Final Four where they were stopped by Virginia. His Sophomore year, saw the Orange finish the season with one of their worst records, not even making the NCAA tournament, and faced some personal issues off the field. He worked hard, got his act back together and was readmitted. His Junior season, last year, Perritt helped Syracuse to a redemption National Championship. This year, his senior year, it is time for him to shine.

Coming into this game, Pat Perritt had put up 21 points, 8 points, 13 points in his seasons, and had 26 points this season. All season it had been about the team and winning their second national championship. Today, he stepped up to the challenge. Perritt put up 4 goals and 1 assist. Most coming when Duke was still within reach of the Orange.
Syracuse started the game with John Galloway in goal. As much as I thought Al could have started after his performance against MD last week, John proved why he is the starter. Galloway ended up with 11 saves and 7 goals against.

Syracuse also put Sid Smith on Ned Crotty. A risky call as Sid does not have the footspeed as Crotty. After the first quarter, Crotty had 2 assists (on each of Duke’s goals), but Smith completely shut him out, as Crotty did nothing the rest of the game.

Coach Danowski’s team chokes again.

Once Syracuse started to pull away it was like the floodgates opened. I don’t care if your team is losing by 8 at the start of the 4th quarter. You need to keep your your team’s head and fight in the game. . Syracuse added onto their goal total, and Duke piled up penalties in the 4th as the game slipped through their fingers.
Duke’s biggest hole this game was their defense.

The goals were coming from all over as Syracuse had seven different players score. It was the most goals allowed by Duke since 2004.

Duke’s poles were too trigger happy as four different poles tried to take it coast-to-coast and score. None of them did. Joel White the LSM for Syracuse scored on Duke though.

Syracuse looks good. If they play like this on Monday, there will be yet another banner hoisted to the rafters.

ncaaenhancedlogo

I knew it was a leap picking Navy last week, but that was just embarrassing. Hopefully this week goes a little smoother. I think I got caught up too much in the numbers last week.

This week it is the NCAA’s version of Steel Cage Grudge Matches, as 3 of the 4 contests see rivals face each other for a second time this year. Planned? Hmmmm.

Syracuse faces Maryland Saturday 12:00 at Hofstra’s Shuart StadiumNCAA Johns Hopkins Syracuse Mens Lacrosse

Cuse by 3. There…said it. Got it out of the way. Syracuse just has too many weapons on offense. Cody Jamieson showed up big netting 3 goals and 1 assist last week against Siena…and by that I am referring to his points and not his middle.

If the emergence of Cody isn’t enough the Orange also have Kenny Nims (64pts), Steve Keogh (50), Dan Hardy (35), Pat Perritt (23), Chris Daniello (20), and more. Their offense has been held to less than 10 goals in only 2 games. Once in a weird showdown with Georgetown, and once against a typical tough Princeton defense.

On defense the Orange have Sid Smith, Matt Tierney, John Lade, Joel White (LSM), and John Galloway in goal. The defense if anything is where Syracuse needs to step it up. While statistically they only let in 7.4 goals per game, I can tell you they are still not the force they were last year. I am not saying they are bad…just not the well oiled machine that was their defense last year.
Maryland was only able to put up 7 goals against Notre Dame last week. They will need to score more than that to stay in the game against Syracuse. Surprisingly the amazing lineup of Maryland attack was held to 0 goals against the Irish. They took 8 shots (only 4 made it on goal).

Maryland has not put up more than 10 goals against any teams in the top 20 except for 1 game and that was against Duke.
Maryland’s defense won them their upset over Notre Dame. The Irish only had 3 goals. Goalie Phipps had 9 saves with 3 goals against for a save percentage of 75%.

While Yeatman is a big physical attackman, I think his presence has actually hurt the chemistry of Maryland’s attack unit. Think Jeremy Shockey of the Giants. Sure he was gifted…yet they won out the playoffs, and SuperBowl while he sat out and didn’t even go to the games.

[poll id="2"]

Cornell takes on Princeton in a rematch at 3:00pm in Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium. john_glynn

Cornell won the first match 10-7. I think this game’s results will be exactly the same. Cornell by 3.
After the loss, Princeton has gon on to win its next three games albeit against Dartmouth, Brown, and UMass. Each of those three games they have let in 7 goals. In each of those three games, Princeton has only let in 1 goal in the first have, but 6 in the second half. Fairly consistent loss of focus in the 2nd half.

Cornell is kind of like Syracuse. They focus more on offense, and outscoring their opponent rather than on defense and holding an opponent from scoring.

Against Princeton previously they were able to jump out to an early 3-0 lead in part due to their sheer dominance at the face off X.

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Down at the Naval Acadamy, UVA takes on Johns Hopkins at noon.danny_glading

This is another rematch game from earlier in the season. UVA took that one 16-15. UVA will win this one by about 3. It won’t be a blowout, but Hopkins has not looked dominant especially of late.

I won’t beat a dead horse, but a National Championship team needs a goalie saving more than 51% shots, and letting in less than 9.6 goals. The Jays don’t have that. What they do have is a fiery coach that seemingly wills them to keep winning. In the past 4 games, Hopkins has gone into OT and won against Towson, Loyola, and Brown.

If I am Virginia, and this game goes to OT, I am faceguarding Brian Christopher who has gotten the game winner in each of those OT games.

Virginia has put up 10+ goals in every game except for one wretched 5 goal performance against Duke. Their average is 12.7 goals per game. Their starting attack has over 90 goals alone. On defense, Ken Clausen leads the close D unit, and Adam Ghitelman has put up decent numbers in net (55%Save, 8.1 GAA)

[poll id="4"]

Duke plays UNC in the late game (3pm) at Navycrotty

This will actually be the third meeting between Duke and UNC this year. Duke has won the other two meetings. I believe they win this one as well. Duke by 1

I don’t understand Duke. They lose to Cornell, Maryland, and Harvard, but beat UVA twice. In the second game against UVA they hold Virginia to 5 goals. 3 games later they switch focus and score 14 against one of if not THE best defense in the country. The answer to both lopsided wins was possession. When an opposing team only has 15 shots on goal, there is a good chance you’ll win. Duke also shot very well and accurately to start. Once that crack shows in a goalie’s confidence, Duke seized on it, and neither goalie was able to save much. Tommy Phelan for Navy ended up with 14 Goals Against and only 5 saves. Ghitelman fared a little better with 14 Goals against and 9 saves.

UNC needs Bitter to step up against Duke. In their first game he only had 1 Assist (0 Goals). In their 2nd game, he did better with 2G/3A. If he can play like he did against UMBC with 8 Goals and 1 Assist, UNC might be able to pull off an upset.
UNC was a team many people thought had a chance to be #1 this year

[poll id="5"]

The Princess Bracket:

Every year I look to see who the NCAA has snubbed, who they have overrated, and who they have screwed. This year, as I was looking at the teams, I was reminded of the movie the Princess Bride.

I can picture the selection committee sitting around a stone table talking to each other:
“Virginia beat the most top 10 teams, but they lost to Duke twice, so we CLEARLY can not choose UVA”.
“Duke however has lost to two lowly teams, so we clearly can not choose Duke”.
“Cuse is rated #1 by the coaches, but lost to UVA and Princeton, so we clearly can not choose Cuse”.
Of course the reporters and pundits would have to interject with “Come on…you’re just stalling now aren’t you?”

To which the committee continues unfazed, “Notre Dame is undefeated, but only beat one top 10 team, so we clearly can not choose Notre Dame.”

Pressed for time, the committee tries to distract those trying to follow, “We pick……Oh look what’s that over there? (throws dart at names on a wall)……UVA!”

OK. So maybe the selection did not proceed exactly as I have explained, but it is plausible. No one team clearly dominated the field. Aside from Notre Dame and Navy being higher seeds, I don’t have a huge problem with this year’s field. Part of me thinks Cuse should be #1, but the top 4 could all be shuffled around depending on what team you like more. I can live with a #2 seed.

Overall, I think this is one of the less controversial tournaments as far as who got in, and even seeding. However, as is the case every year, too much emphasis is put on SOS. The calculations double dip the SOS, and as we all know double dipping is not an acceptable practice.

For those whiners out there:
Georgetown was not snubbed, as they couldn’t finish. Yes they have talent, but all that matters is the W.
Harvard was not snubbed. While they beat Duke, who else did they beat? No one.

Now…time for my whining:
My complaint with Notre Dame, is that while they did not have a strong SOS, they did beat 3 top 20 teams and were undefeated. This accomplishment is more deserving than a 7 seed. Especially since the only measuring stick is their win over UNC, and UNC is higher than them. Move ND up to 5 and UNC down to 7. If ND were in UNC’s spot, they might have a shot at making it to the Final Four. Personally I would love to see at least SOME variation in the final four. I don’t mind seeing 2 or 3 stalwarts every year, but seeing the same teams year in and year out does get a little tiresome.

Navy I think should be in Maryland’s spot. Navy has 4 wins over top 20s, and less losses than MD. Also Navy thoroughly beat MD by 6. MD has only 2 top 20 wins, more losses, including Navy. I think Navy’s seeding will screw them playing Duke in the 1st round. With their current spot, Navy COULD upset Duke, but would they have enough in the tank to then beat UNC again?

syrfans

Syracuse fans are hoping a #2 seed will help them get back to championship weekend in Boston.

Cornell at Syracuse 2009 - Photos by Chris Beavers

Johns Hopkins at Syracuse 09 - Photos by Chris Beavers

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