Just a week ago, the Cornell Big Red defeated the Princeton Tigers by a score of 17-11 in the Big City Classic. Rob Pannell had nine points in that one, and it seemed like Princeton was heading in the wrong direction.
Well, all that is forgotten now. Last night, it was Mike MacDonald with the nine points as Princeton took down Cornell 14-13 in overtime. It was a game for the ages, and one of the greatest games I have ever seen.
The win not only served as revenge for the loss at MetLife Stadium, but it allows Princeton to continue their quest for the Ivy League crown and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The win also came in Ithaca, on Cornell's home turf, in front of a hostile Big Red home crowd.
Princeton played inspired lacrosse and now have an opportunity to play Yale on Sunday at noon to take home the conference title. Princeton beat Yale in the regular season, but this rematch certainly has more on the line.
Cornell's defense obviously had trouble containing MacDonald, but Tom Schreiber and Kip Orban had themselves good games as well. Schreiber finished with a goal and four assists, while Orban had three goals, including the game winner, and added an assist.
Tiger goalie Eric Sanschagrin, in his third start of the season, played very well down the stretch. He made clutch saves and made good outlet passes to get his team back on the offensive side of the field.
He finished the night with 12 saves, while Cornell goaltender AJ Fiore saved only 30 percent of the shots he saw on cage, finishing the game with six stops. Fiore was a strong point for Cornell in the first meeting between these two teams, but he looked like a shadow of himself last night.
Princeton has enough talent to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament. Their offense can score with anyone in the country, and their defense showed progress and the ability to adjust with their performance last night. Their biggest game of the season, however, will be tomorrow against Yale. Tomorrow also happens to be selection Sunday.
The Tigers must defeat Yale to get the automatic bid, as at-large bids are going to be hard to come by. If Princeton can beat Yale, they will get a favorable seed in the tournament and the possibility of a home game in the first round.
Princeton seems to be back on track, and now has an opportunity to make 2013 a memorable year. I predict Princeton takes down Yale in the final, and I also predict a Final Four run for the Tigers.
Getting past Cornell was a huge accomplishment, and it certainly puts momentum in Princeton's corner. I have been a true believer that Princeton is one of the best teams in the country, and last night, it showed everyone why.