Posted Sunday, May 20, 2007 by .
#1 Cornell Edges #10 Albany in OT, Heads to Final Four
PRINCETON, N.J. – Junior John Glynn took a pass from senior Eric Pittard and buried a shot with 4.8 seconds remaining in overtime to propel the No. 1 Cornell University men's lacrosse team to the Final Four with a 12-11 victory over No. 10/11 Albany on Saturday afternoon at Princeton Stadium. The victory sends Cornell (15-0) to meet the winner of tomorrow's Duke-North Carolina game in the NCAA semifinals on Saturday, May 26 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Game time is to be determined and the contest will be televised by ESPN.
After spending all week answering questions about a foot injury that he sustained in the third quarter of last weekend's game with Towson, sophomore Max Seibald let his play on the field do the talking, as he played a key role in setting up Glynn's game-winner. With time running down in overtime, Albany picked up a loose ball and streaked up-field but Seibald, one of the fastest players on the field, streaked 50-yards from Cornell's restraining line to catch up with the Great Dane ball handler. A resounding check by the Tewaaraton Trophy finalist sent the Albany player's stick flying and Brian Clayton picked up the loose ball and sent it to Glynn at midfield. Glynn passed the ball to Pittard, but continued towards the goal, where he received the ball back and one-timed it into the back of the net for the first post-season goal of his career.
Glynn's only score of the game punctuated a hard-fought contest that saw both teams play at a frantic pace well beyond the 60 minutes of regulation. Senior David Mitchell had a game-high four goals, while Pittard had a pair of goals and five assists propelling him past the 100-point plateau for his career. Senior Matt McMonagle made 12 saves against the high-powered Great Dane offense. Albany (15-3) got three goals and an assist from John Alpizar, while Brett Queener had 14 saves to lead the Albany defense.
Cornell defenseman Mitch Belisle and defensive midfielder Danny Nathan played an outstanding game for the Big Red, holding the second- and third-highest scoring players in the nation, Frank Resetarits (3.29 gpg.) and Merrick Thomson (3.18 gpg.), to a collective three goals.
Albany held the edge in shots, 43-37 and ground balls, 39-36, while dominating in the face-off circle, winning 17-of-26. Seibald, who had two goals and two assists on the day, also helped the Big Red in the circle in the second half, winning 6-of-13 restarts.
The Big Red defense showed it was ready to play, killing off an early 30-second penalty, thanks to a brilliant sequence from McMonagle in which the senior stopper made a stop and then stuffed Corey Small on the doorstep to preserve the scoreless tie.
The Great Danes cracked the scoreboard first as John Alpizar slipped his man and scored from point-blank range to make it 1-0 at the 10:14 mark. Back-to-back Albany goals forty seconds apart made it 3-0 with 5:23 to play in the first quarter, with the first coming from Thomson and the second from Small.
Senior Henry Bartlett finally got the Big Red on the board as he streaked towards the crease, received a pass from Glynn and beat Queener up high to make it 3-1 at the 1:48 mark.
Albany won the ensuing face-off and tried to hold for a last shot, but a hard check by George Calvert knocked the ball loose and gave Cornell a chance with 47 remaining. The Big Red needed nearly all of it as a smothering Great Dane defense held Pittard at bay. Pittard tried to thread the needle to Mitchell in the front crease, but the ball was knocked to the ground. With time winding down, Mitchell calmly scooped the ball off the turf and whipped a behind-the-back shot into the goal to make it 3-2 with 1.1 showing on the clock.
Cornell had a stellar opportunity to knot the game at the start of the second quarter as Queener collected a loose ball off a save and streaked up-field, where he met Seibald in a battle that the sophomore midfielder would win. After knocking the ball loose, the fast break was on, but the shot on the open cage rolled just wide.
The Big Red's first man-up opportunity of the day brought the score back to even as a 15-yeard rocket from Seibald found the upper right corner to make it 3-3 with 11:55 to go til halftime. Albany regained the lead just over four minutes later with back-to-back goals as Alpizar and Eric Wolf, making it 5-3 at the 6:07 mark.
The Big Red responded immediately, forcing a turnover off the restart. Some quick passing from Cornell found Mitchell all alone in font of the goal and the senior attackman converted with a bounce shot into the back of the net to make it a 5-4 game.
Cornell tied the game at 5-5 when Seibald drove down the left side, cut back center and sent a perfectly placed pass to Pittard, just outside the crease. Pittard jumped to collect the ball and dunked it to give him his first goal of the afternoon.
With time winding down in the half, McMonagle made an outstanding save on a shot from Small with eight seconds to play, but Resetarits managed to score from point-blank range with 2.7 seconds to go to give Albany the 6-5 advantage at the half.
The Great Danes increased their lead to two goals just 17 seconds into the third quarter as they won the opening face-off and Jordan Levine streaked up the right side and scored from 10-yards out.
It took 23 seconds and some outstanding play from Seibald for the Big Red to score three goals and turn the tide. The first came as Seibald collected a pass on the far right side, bullied his way back to the center of the field and ripped a high shot past Queener. The sophomore midfielder then assisted on the game-tying goal, winning the ensuing face-off and driving the length of the field before finding Pittard all alone, just outside of the crease. Cornell took its first lead of the game off the next face-off as an attempted pass back to Queener was snagged out of midair by Mitchell, who scored easily on the open net to make it 9-8 with 10:14 remaining in the quarter.
Albany tied the game for the fourth time as Chris Schongar won the restart and went the distance before beating McMonagle to make it 9-9 at the 10:07 mark.
Albany native Casey Lewis gave the Big Red back the lead, receiving a pass from John Espey and ripping a low hard shot into the cage to make it 10-9. that is how the score would remaining for the final seven minutes of the third quarter.
The final stanza started with a series of near misses and big saves by both teams' goalies before a transition goal from Mitchell, off a pass from Pittard, put the Big Red up, 11-9, with 8:40 to play. Albany's first goal of the fourth quarter came after a high shot by Small was saved by McMonagle, but Thomson collected the rebound and sent it top shelf to pull the Great Danes within one, 11-10, with just over five minutes to play.
The Big Red was awarded an extra-man opportunity with 2:45 to play but decided to hold the ball, rather than take a shot and risk giving up the possession. The strategy worked for nearly two minutes before a double-team forced a Cornell turnover and gave the Great Danes the ball with 49 seconds to play.
Following an Albany timeout, Levine took the ball and worked his way to the goal. After ducking and dodging for nearly 30 seconds, the Great Dane midfielder slipped past his defensive mark and scored from six-yards out to send the game to overtime.
Score by Period 1 2 3 4 OT Tot----------------------------------------Albany. - ............. 3 3 3 2 0 - 11Cornell............. 2 3 5 1 1 - 12 Attendance: Albany SCORING:GOALS: Alpizar, John 3; Thomson, Merrick 2; Levine, Jordan 2; Small, Corey 1; Wolf, Eric 1; Resetarits, Frank 1; Schongar, Chris 1.ASSISTS: Alpizar, John 1; Ammann, Steve 1; Small, Corey 1; Wolf, Eric 1. Cornell SCORING:GOALS: Mitchell, David 4; Pittard, Eric 2; Seibald, Max 2; Lewis, Casey 2; Glynn, John 1; Bartlett, Henry 1.ASSISTS: Pittard, Eric 5; Seibald, Max 2; Espey, John 1; Glynn, John 1.