Cornell defeated Princeton 6–4 in the NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse quarterfinals May 16. The game, which Cornell coach Jeff Tambroni aptly described as a “slugfest,” was only the third in the 39-year history of the NCAA tournament in which two opponents combined to score fewer than 11 goals.
Both coaches signaled their anticipation of a tight, defensive contest by calling timeouts in the first quarter. Tambroni used one to adjust his defense late in the period, and Princeton coach Bill Tierney countered by setting up an extra-man play after Jack McBride ’11 scored to cut Cornell’s lead to 2–1 with 1:52 left. But Princeton was unable to capitalize on the opportunity, and Cornell answered by scoring a critical goal with 11 seconds left in the quarter. “To be honest, I thought it got away from us when they made it 3–1,” Tierney said.
Princeton’s offensive strength all year had been its first midfield, which accounted for nine of the team’s 10 goals and all three of its assists in a 10–7 win over the University of Massachusetts in the first round of the NCAA tournament May 10.
Tambroni attended that game and responded by putting long-stick defenders on Princeton midfielders Mark Kovler ’09, the team’s second-leading scorer, and Rich Sgalardi ’09, who often initiated the offense and was its leader in assists.
David Marcus ’92 is a frequent PAW contributor.