April 26, 2004

In the Driver's Seat

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One week ago, it was Sean Greenhalgh. A week before that, Brian Clayton. Saturday afternoon, Justin Redd took his turn as hero for the No. 11 men’s lacrosse team, which defeated its archrival, No. 5 Princeton, 12-11, for the first time since 1995.

“I felt like we were playing hard enough to win and we were very relieved to get that goal in overtime,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “Redd’s a guy that we look to produce. He makes pretty good decisions. He dodged once, and they did a pretty good job of defending it. And fortunately for us, he was very patient. We got into the corner without drawing any slides, and he put the ball right past the goalie on the right corner.”

The goal, Redd’s second of the game, came 1:03 into the extra session on Cornell’s first possession after the faceoff.

“We called a time out coming out of the faceoff in overtime that JD Nelson won; we put David Pittard on the midfield, and actually the ball was supposed to go on David Pittard’s stick, but they ended up putting the long stick on David Pittard,” Tambroni said. “Redd picked up the ball and took the place of David Pittard behind the goal; we just thought if we could get a good short-stick matchup behind the goal, he could dodge, or he could draw the slide and beat it or turn the corner.”

Cornell went on a 6-2 run over the first 28 minutes over the second half to turn a 6-5 halftime deficit into an 11-8 lead. However, Princeton would not go quietly. Determined not to drop its first home game to Cornell since 1988, the Tigers awoke late in the fourth quarter.

Down by three goals with under two minutes remaining, Princeton scored three consecutive goals to tie the game late in regulation. Jason Doneger and Drew Casino scored 35 seconds apart to cut the Red lead to one goal, before Whitney Hayes fed Ryan Boyle for the game-tieing goal with 24 ticks left.

After winning the ensuing faceoff, the Red turned the ball over, and a long clearing attempt by Princeton goalie Dave Law eluded Boyle in front of the net as time ran out in regulation.

“I thought if Ryan could have caught the ball there, we might have won it there,” said Princeton head coach Bill Tierney.

Boyle had a goal and four assists for the Tigers, sharing the game lead for points with senior co-captain Andrew Collins, who had two goals and three assists for the Red. Sophomore Joe Boulukos and juniors Greenhalgh and Kevin Nee also scored twice for Cornell.

“I thought we were playing somewhat decent lacrosse on the offensive end,” Tambroni said. “We had a good opportunity at least to create a good shot, that could find its way to the back of the net like Justin’s shot.”

With his two goals and three assists, Collins extended his scoring streak to 15 games.

On the defensive side, freshman goalie Matt McMonagle saved seven in his first start since March 17.

“It was a big game for him. He had seven saves, gave up 11 goals, so I don’t think it’s the best effort that Matt’s capable of. But he made a lot of crucial saves. We were very pleased with the effort that Matt made, especially regarding the first game against Princeton as a freshman. It was a game that we were really counting on him to step up big, and he’s stepped up the whole year, really.”

At 4-1 in conference, Cornell now sits in the driver’s seat of the Ivy League standings. When the Red plays its Ivy League finale against Brown this Saturday afternoon, Cornell will have a chance to clinch at least a share of its second consecutive Ivy League championship, as well as the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA tournament. Brown, which beat Dartmouth on Saturday, is 2-2. Meanwhile, Princeton will visit Dartmouth this Saturday, hoping to maintain its chances for a split title.

The Tigers have won at least a share of the Ancient Eight title every year since 1995. The Red will be in search of its first outright championship since 1987.

Archived article by Owen Bochner
Sun Sports Editor