Princeton avenges loss to rival Brown NCAA LACROSSE CHAMPIONSHIPS

May 29, 1994|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Sun Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- In the end, Princeton lacrosse players were publicly gracious. They didn't talk much about revenge for the Ivy League championship. Hardly any backhanded remarks about which team really had the best goalie. No real snide remarks. Nothing.

But privately . . .

"Oh, we don't have time to really celebrate now because the championship game is Monday," said one Princeton player. "But we're all relieved inside. Believe me, if we had lost this game, there would have been some serious consequences to pay for losing to Brown twice."

No. 3 Princeton, making its third straight Final Four appearance, used its experience and a four-goal third quarter to defeat Ivy League rival Brown, 10-7, yesterday in an NCAA Division I lacrosse semifinal.

Another close game was expected after No. 7 Brown (13-5) had beaten then-No. 1 Princeton, 7-6, earlier this season, a game that eventually brought the Bears the Ivy League title and ended Princeton's string of two consecutive conference championships.

But the record crowd of 23,728 saw the Tigers (13-1) dismantle the Bears in the third period as Princeton midfielder Scott Reinhardt scored three of the team's four goals.

Meanwhile, Princeton's defense, led by senior goalie Scott Bacigalupo, who finished with 15 saves, held Brown scoreless during the period, part of a near 31-minute drought by the Bears.

By the time Brown defender Dennis Sullivan scored with 9:47 left in the game, Princeton had a 10-6 lead and was well on its way to playing No. 5 Virginia in tomorrow's championship game at noon at Byrd Stadium.

"This is our third year of doing this and I think our experience was a factor," said Bacigalupo, noting that this was Brown's first appearance in the tournament. "We're not going to go into the locker room with a rah-rah attitude because we know we still have a game left.

"Our players knew this was going to be an emotional game, but we also realized that the mission won't be complete until we get into the second. We weren't going to lose our composure."

Brown did. The Bears came out using the same formula they used in the previous victory over Princeton: play slow down and become very selective on shots, shadow Tigers attackman Kevin Lowe all over the field and hope goalie Jay Stalfort has a big game.

Everything seemed to be falling into place, especially when attack man David Evans scored with 10:36 left in the second quarter for a 5-3 Brown lead.

But Princeton midfielder Jason Buttles blew by defender Zachary Schreiber for a goal with 10:12 left, and Tigers midfielder Don McDonough scored with 28 seconds remaining to tie the score at 5-5 at the half.

From then on, it was all Princeton, which had its own ball-control offense.

"I thought those last two goals were big at the end of the half," said Brown coach Peter Lasagna, who played every series but the first without attackman Jeff Iserson, the team's third-leading scorer, who hurt his ankle last week against Loyola. "Then in the second half we became impatient on offense, as they held the ball. Maybe it's getting rattled from having never played here before. We played about as badly as we have played all year."

Reinhardt carried Princeton in the third. He scored from behind a screen nearly two minutes into the third. He scored on a 15-yard high shot from left of the goal with 6:25 remaining.

Reinhardt added his third goal on a long, low shot with 5:56 left in the period, and teammate John Stanitski closed out the scoring in the quarter with an extra-man goal with 1:45 remaining as Princeton went ahead, 9-5.

"I was just trying to get myself in position to get open because I wasn't creating a lot of opportunities in the first half," said Reinhardt. "But once I got set and caught the ball, I just had some open shots."

Bacigalupo was stopping almost everything on the other end. Princeton had trouble sliding to help out in the first half, but that was corrected in the second.

Bacigalupo, from St. Paul's School, stopped a one-on-one shot from Joshua Selig with 7:52 left in the third. He stopped a difficult low shot from Christopher Martinelli nearly four minutes later, and another one by Rob Gutheil as the horn sounded to end the third.

It was a signature performance by Bacigalupo, the three time All-American who felt he was slighted several weeks ago when Stalfort was named to the first All-Ivy team and he was selected to the second.

Bacigalupo had the opportunity to become the first Ivy League player ever named to the first team four times.

"We started winning some faceoffs in the second half," said Princeton coach Bill Tierney. "We also told our guys to keep our feet moving and keep cutting and taking away their slides.

"Scott [Bacigalupo] made some great saves for us. That helped us to get back into the game. Batch made a statement out there," said Tierney, referring to the All-Ivy teams.

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