April 15, 2003

Princeton Biggest Obstacle For Men's Lacrosse Team

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Five days ago, the men’s hockey team’s season ended.

You’re still sad about it. You believe the Red was robbed when Shane Palahicky’s goal in the first period was ruled a high sticking. You think that David LeNeveu gave up a couple of goals that you’re sure you’ve seen him make saves on before.

Even though you’ve had a few days to digest the reality, you still can’t get over that most inauspicious ending to Cornell’s winningest season ever.

Well, it’s time.

Today is a new day. The temperature might reach 80 by this afternoon. There are only 17 days until Slope Day. And this Saturday, another Cornell team will take what it hopes will be another step in its own road to the national title.

To give you an idea of just how important Saturday’s men’s lacrosse game against Princeton is, consider this: Princeton has never won an outright Ivy League championship without beating Cornell. And Cornell has never won an outright Ivy League championship without beating Princeton. Never.

Think about that. Combined, Princeton and Cornell have accounted for at least a share of 37 Ancient Eight titles out of 47.

For both teams, the road to the championship has always run through the other. No other school has come close to attaining the consistent success of these two powerhouses. And the Tigers and the Red have enjoyed tremendous success once again this year.

Cornell is 7-3 this season. The Red has won six out of its last seven, including all four League contests. In this past weekend’s 13-5 rout over Dartmouth, junior attack Andrew Collins scored seven points, and was named Ivy League Player of the Week for his performance. He is the third Cornellian to be so honored this season, and the second in a row, after senior J.P. Schalk took the honor last week.

Princeton is also a perfect 4-0 in Ivy League play in 2003. And after dropping the first two games of the season, the Tigers have rolled, winning their last seven in a row, despite playing without injured All-America attack Ryan Boyle for two games during that stretch.

Cornell has not beaten Princeton since 1995. Not coincidentally, 1995 was the last time that a team other than Princeton was the Ivy champ. (Princeton and Brown were co-champions that year.)

The Tigers currently hold a seven-game winning streak over the Red. The Tigers have been the sole Ivy champion each of the last seven years. Last season, Princeton’s remarkable 40-game conference winning streak ended with a loss to Yale. Cornell beat Yale last year, and again this earlier this.

This season, the Red has finally begun to peak as the end of the regular season nears. The laxers have not lost a home game this season, and will attempt to again defend Schoellkopf Field this weekend.

And since Cornell has not beaten Princeton at home in its last three attempts, this year’s game will carry even greater significance. The Red has gone to the NCAA tournament in each of the last two seasons. However, it has not had the Ivy League’s automatic bid in 16 years. This year’s team is primed to break that streak.

But if that’s to happen, Saturday’s game is a must win. And a must see. Because, really, what better way is there to fill the void created by the end of one championship-caliber team’s season than with the excitement of another championship-caliber team?

Archived article by Owen Bochner

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