Much like the clouds that blanketed the sky over Schoellkopf Field on Saturday afternoon, the No. 6 men’s lacrosse team blanketed the Princeton offense, holding it to just four goals, as the Red (8-2, 5-0 Ivy) romped the Tigers (3-7, 2-2), 17-4.
With the win, Cornell clinched at least a share of its 20th Ivy League title and, because of Dartmouth’s 11-9 victory over Brown, the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, as the Red holds the tiebreaker with the Green — the only remaining team with a shot at a share of the crown.
“[It feels] rewarding,” said Cornell head coach Jeff Tambroni. “I think our guys have worked so hard, not just over the course of the year. I just think these seniors have just put so much into Cornell lacrosse.”
The Princeton loss, it’s most lopsided against the Red since a 21-5 thumping in the 1988 season, ended its streak of 10 consecutive league titles and 15 NCAA tournament appearances.
The Red, which outshot the Tigers, 62-21, was led by senior Kevin Nee who tallied career-highs in both goals, with seven, and points, with eight.
“You’ve got to give a lot of credit to Cornell,” said Princeton head coach Bill Tierney. “We thought we were prepared, but they came out on fire, and they shoot the ball like nobody we’ve seen this year.”
Nee scored the third goal of Cornell’s 4-0 run to open the game on an assist from junior Joe Boulukos, with 11:11 left in the first quarter. Exactly two minutes prior, senior Justin Redd opened the scoring using a strong dodge and a rocket from the 10-yard line, while classmate Sean Greenhalgh tallied the second goal of the game on a behind-the-back shot. Greenhalgh made an assist to Boulukos for the last goal of the run with 9:48 remaining in the first frame. Princeton, which scored just one goal in each of the four quarters, tallied its first-period score on a Scott Sowanick goal at the 6:08 mark.
At 8:33, the Red began another four-goal run, as Redd notched his second goal of the game. Greenhalgh did the same at the 11:16 mark to end the first-quarter scoring.
The second period saw Cornell again open up strong, as Nee put home his second of the day before Greenhalgh earned a hat-trick on an assist from senior Ian Rosenberger.
A Whitney Hayes to Peter Trombino man-advantage goal with 3:17 left in the first half made the score 8-2 before Nee took over.
The Canton, N.Y., native scored two goals within just 15 seconds of each other, beginning with a tally on an assist from junior Derek Haswell with 32 seconds left in the half, followed by a mark off a feed from junior Dave Bush, to make the score 10-2 heading into the locker room. But, the Red’s goal-scorers were far from finished.
“Even when it was 10-2 at halftime, you had to realize that Princeton was a great team and they have a lot of great goal-scorers and they could comeback,” Nee said. “So that was something we had to stay focused on.”
The barrage continued in the second half, as the Red went on a five-goal run, started by a Haswell to Nee goal in a man-advantage situation.
Including the end of the first half, the Red tallied seven straight goals — the first four of which were scored by Nee — to put Cornell ahead, 15-2.
“You try to stop Boulukos and Redd, and Nee gets seven,” Tierney said. “That’s the sign of a good team, when you can stop the two big boys and the next guy gets it.”
The last three goals came in a span 2:21 beginning at the 10:36 mark in the third quarter, when Greenhalgh netted his fourth and final goal of the game, followed by a Boulukos goal and a Rosenberger score on an assist by Nee.
Princeton’s lone goal of the third frame came with just 33 seconds left, as Mike Gaudio beat sophomore goalie Matt McMonagle on a low shot from just inside the 10-yard line. For the game, McMonagle made a total of seven saves, while allowing just three goals in just under 48 minutes.
McMonagle’s day ended early because of the Red’s big lead, which increased even further in fourth quarter. Nee put home his seventh goal of the game on a Boulukos assist just 1:18 into the frame, and then freshman John Glynn’s first goal of his career at Schoellkopf Field prompted Tambroni to put senior Kyle Miller in net. Miller made three saves and allowed one goal — the second Hayes to Trombino tally of the game — in over nine minutes of play.
Miller was relieved by classmate Peter Cannizzaro, who made his first ever collegiate appearance, manning the Cornell net for the final 2:45 of the game. In fact, every player on the Red’s roster saw action in the win.
Archived article by Chris Mascaro
Sun Sports Editor