Orangemen on a mission rip Tigers, 15-9

May 30, 1993|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Part I of the mission was accomplished.

Final score: Syracuse 15, Princeton 9, in the NCAA Division I lacrosse semifinal yesterday at Byrd Stadium.

Next up: No. 1 North Carolina for the national championship tomorrow at noon here. One of these two powers has played for the title every year but one since 1981.

"We're right where we want to be. We've worked hard and long and this is our focus and our goal and we've got another game," said Roy Simmons Jr., coach of No. 3 Syracuse. "It's like Dickens said, 'It's the best of times and it is the worst of times.' "

The Orangemen (11-2) are a team obsessed with winning a national championship and showing the lacrosse world they can overcome adversity.

The university is conducting an internal investigation of the lacrosse program after a former player alleged in early May that the school broke several NCAA rules when he played there in the late 1980s.

The Orangemen are also out to prove that they are not the same team that lost two of its first three games, to North Carolina and Loyola.

"When you're Syracuse, you're not supposed to be investigated, you're not supposed to have two losses, even though snow permitted us only three to four practices in the first month of the season," said Charlie Lockwood, Syracuse's junior midfielder. "People say we're here to get revenge, to avenge the championship loss to Princeton a year ago and the early-season loss to North Carolina [14-10].

"Revenge is a strong word, too strong," said Lockwood. "We're here to show everyone that we can put all of this other stuff on the back burner. We're here to win the national championship. Like Coach says, cream always rises to the top."

And the Orangemen were near the top of their game yesterday. They had four textbook three-goal runs, including one in the third period from which No. 2 Princeton (13-2) never recovered.

"Thank God for TV timeouts. Those three-goal runs may have been six-goal runs," said Princeton coach Bill Tierney.

And Syracuse made the runs essentially without attackmen Jamie Archer and Matt Riter, the team's top two scorers.

Instead, Syracuse cut loose midfielders Mark Fietta, John Barr, Lockwood, Dom Fin and Roy Colsey on Princeton. They each had two goals. Archer also had two goals, and Riter one.

"We try and find mismatches and we felt our midfield was much stronger than their midfield," said Simmons. "The strength of the Princeton team is close defense. There's no sense in trying to beat your head against the wall."

Princeton was down 6-3 at the half, but seemed to gather momentum when a goal by Riter was nullified and he was called for an illegal stick that resulted in a three-minute, non-releaseable penalty with 11:58 left in the third period.

But the Tigers got only one shot during the penalty as Syracuse's defense smothered Princeton's attack. The Tigers finally scored on a shot by midfielder Jason Buttles with 6:05 left to pull within 6-4.

Syracuse, though, came back with a goal from Archer with 2:54 remaining. Fin then dodged and split two defenders for a goal nearly a minute later. Barr scored on a long shot 10 seconds later to put the Orangemen up 9-4.

"It was very crucial, us not scoring during that opportunity," said Tierney of the penalty. "When the goal was taken away, I felt it took some of their momentum, but us not scoring in those three minutes gave them the momentum. Give Syracuse credit. They're not known for their defense, but they played well."

Princeton took a 2-0 lead in the first eight minutes of the game. Tigers attackman Scott Reinhardt scored on a low shot near the left pole with 8:32 remaining in the first period, and then scored an extra-man goal with 6:49 left.

The lead gave Princeton a chance to run its deliberate offense, but the Tigers couldn't slow the Orangemen. Syracuse rallied in the remaining time. Fietta beat Princeton midfielder Charlie Herrick for a goal on a low shot at the 3:52 mark, and then Syracuse midfielder John Barr went low again on a shot past Princeton goaltender Scott Bacigalupo to tie the score 34 seconds later.

Lockwood then drilled a 20-foot shot that Bacigalupo probably should have stopped, but it deflected off his body and into the net for a goal that put Syracuse ahead 3-2 with 2:44 left in the quarter.

Princeton tied the score at 3-3 when attackman Kevin Lowe, working from behind and to the left of the goal, spotted Buttles streaking down the crease for a goal 21 seconds into the second period.

But then the Orangemen midfielders started to take charge again. Fietta blew by Buttles outside the crease for a goal with 9:08 remaining to break the tie.

Colsey turned and beat Princeton's Paul Murphy for a goal off a low shot 46 seconds later. Lockwood launched another 20-footer for a goal with 7:51 left to give Syracuse a 6-3 halftime lead.

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