In case anyone at Schoellkopf Field had forgotten it was senior day for Cornell men’s lacrosse, senior attack Clarke Petterson surely reminded them when he scored the game-winning goal with four seconds remaining, pushing the Red to a 14-13 victory over Princeton on Saturday.
Petterson’s efforts ensured that this senior day would be a memorable one for him and his 11 classmates, who played what was likely their final game at Schoellkopf.
“It was my last chance to play on our home field,” Petterson said after the game. “I just wanted to make the most out of it, and I’m a big beneficiary for my teammates. … It was a really good game all around and happy to end senior day with a crazy win like that.”
The victory was meaningful for one other significant reason: it secured Cornell’s place in the Ivy League tournament next weekend in New York. The third-seeded Red (10-4, 4-2 Ivy League) will face off against the second seed, its rival No. 5 Yale (10-2, 5-1), in a rematch of last season’s conference championship. Penn and Brown will face off in the other semifinal.
“We want to win the tournament, so we’re just going in one game at a time,” said head coach Peter Milliman. “[Yale is] a good team, we know they’re going to be good, they pose a lot of challenges. But they’re going to bring out the best in us hopefully, and that’s what we’re looking for.”
Cornell got off to a good start on Saturday afternoon, jumping out to a 4-2 lead at the first break. But the Tigers settled in from there, outscoring the Red 9-5 in the middle two periods. Cornell’s five goals in the fourth quarter were all that was needed to pull out a victory, highlighted by Petterson’s game-winner in the game’s final moments.
“Coach [Connor Buczek ’15] drew up a play,” Petterson said. “We just wanted some off-ball action. We got a pick from Jake McCulloch to his left hand, and then a pick for me on the back side where I normally hang out, and then a pick for Jeff [Teat] on ball. It worked out perfectly.”
Once the pick had been set on Teat, he worked his hands free and put the ball in a place where Petterson, moving off a screen towards the cage, grabbed it and quickly dumped it past Princeton goaltender Erik Peters.
“It worked out exactly like we drew it — which never happens,” Milliman said. “Jeff just put it there and let Clarke go get it.”
Teat, a Tewaaraton award finalist, scored once and had two helpers including one on the game-winner. Teat’s lone goal was the 99th of his career, moving him closer into an elite group of Cornell players who have accomplished 100 goals in their Cornell careers.
“I think our offense is one of the best in the country,” said sophomore attack John Piatelli. “When we play together and we play hard and with pace, good things happen for us.”
Freshman goaltender Chayse Ierlan made 13 saves — his seventh consecutive outing with double-digit stops. The Rochester native has made at least 10 saves in all the games in which he played a majority of the time.
Princeton’s standout junior attack Michael Sowers had seven goals and one assist as he continues to cause problems for Ivy League defenses. As Princeton’s season is now over, Sowers finished the year with a total of 90 points — third most in the country.
The Ivy League tournament will once again be held at Columbia, which does not have a men’s lacrosse program, at Robert K. Kraft Field at the upper tip of Manhattan. The Bears and Quakers will square off in the first semifinal at 6 p.m. while Cornell and Yale are slated for the second semifinal at 8:30 p.m. The conference championship game will be played on Sunday at noon.