PRINCETON, N.J. -- If history was any indication, the men's lacrosse team didn't stand a chance against Princeton last night.
But this year has been different. The No. 7 Quakers came in the favorites, ranked higher and boasting a better record than their Ivy League rivals.
That didn't mean much of anything to the No. 11 Tigers, who scored five unanswered goals in the second quarter to beat Penn 16-7.
It was just a typical night at Princeton, where the Quakers (8-2, 3-2 Ivy) haven't won since the Reagan administration. In that span, the Tigers have won eight straight, by a combined margin of 125-46.
Princeton (6-3, 2-0) looked like those teams of old last night, controlling the ball from end to end, which Tigers coach Bill Tierney said was the key.
"We didn't stop Penn tonight, we just had the ball more," said Tierney, who has beaten Penn in 17 straight.
Ball control helped the Tigers break a 3-3 tie with three goals in under a minute. It was eerily similar to Harvard's 3-0 run that sank the Quakers back on March 25.
"That gave us a boost," Tierney said. "That was a confidence builder, because I thought Penn was gaining control at that point."
Junior Peter Trombino hit the first of the three and went on to record five points on the night. Getting that momentum, he said, was critical.
"It's important," Trombino, the Tigers' leading scorer said. "It's disheartening to the other team when you score and they're having trouble."
Princeton would tally five goals in the second frame to make it 8-5 at the break. After that, it was all Tigers.
"With the offense they have and the openings we left, you're not going to win the game," said Penn senior P.J. Gilbert, who finished with two goals.
The loss is a major blow to Penn's chances in the contentious Ivy title hunt. With only six league games, going 4-2 rarely wins championships. Add to that the formidable contenders Cornell and Princeton, with just one loss each.
"We felt like we had to win this game to win the league," Penn coach Brian Voelker said. "But stranger things have happened. We just have to put our fate in someone else's hands."
The Quakers closed within three in the second half but could never seem to get anything going offensively, and the Tigers' quick strikes were trouble again.
"We cut it to 9-6 and had an opportunity, but they went down and scored," Voelker said. "They did everything we felt we didn't."
What Princeton did was win faceoffs and pick up ground balls.
"The ball went down in our end, and Princeton got it," Voelker said. "It went down in their end, and Princeton got it. It went down in the center, and Princeton got it."
Struggling to retake the momentum, the Quakers took five shots in about a minute on virtually the same play. All five sailed high and to the right.
"We didn't have the ball a lot," Voelker said. "And when we did, we didn't do the right thing with it."
Penn struck first blood as junior David Cornbrooks charged the goal from midfield and fired on the Tigers' Alex Hewit. The sophomore got a stick on it but dropped it and could only watch as it trickled in behind him.
Princeton fired back 29 seconds later and took the lead nine minutes in on a goal that would have made basketball legend Pete Carril proud. A sustained two-minute possession found Penn defenders packed into the zone and, more importantly, following the ball and not the open men. Sophomore Trip Cowin was one of those open men, and he took a perfect pass and sliced it past Penn goalie Greg Klossner.
Another typical night for a team that has dominated the Ivy League lacrosse world.Comments powered by Disqus
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