Bacigalupo puts outstanding cap on college career

May 31, 1994|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- The Princeton celebration was into its second round of group hugs, but off to the side coach Bill Tierney and goalie Scott Bacigalupo shared a private moment.

"We've spent a lot of time together, and I wanted to thank him [Bacigalupo] for the time and effort he's given us and for making me look good," Tierney said. "You've got to appreciate certain people who have an impact on your career."

Four years ago, Princeton was trying to break into the upper echelon of lacrosse, and Bacigalupo was wrapping up an All-Metro career at St. Paul's.

Yesterday, Bacigalupo was named Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA tournament after the Tigers' 9-8 overtime victory over Virginia gave them their second title in three years. He can claim that no player has had as big an impact on the college game in the 1990s.

Bacigalupo will play in the North-South All-Star game June 10 at Homewood Field, and then call it quits at age 22.

"I'm never going to see a crowd like this [24,730] in club ball," Bacigalupo said. "Going out for the second half, it hit me that this was it. It's been four long years, but they've also been terrific."

Bacigalupo was the leader of a senior class that included Ivy League Player of the Year Kevin Lowe, midfielders Scott Reinhardt, Paul Murphy and Brian Tomeo, and defensemen Peter Ramsey and Ryan Fanzone. Yesterday's victory gave them a four-year record of 52-8.

Textbook position defense became a Princeton trademark, but the long sticks didn't have to take chances with Bacigalupo in the cage. He is expected to be named first-team All-American and win the Ensign C. Markland Kelly Award, given to the nation's top goalie, for the third straight year. Johns Hopkins' Mike Federico, from 1978-80, is the only other player to win the award three times.

Nonetheless, Bacigalupo was second-team All-Ivy League, behind Brown's Jay Stalfort. He said that political maneuvering put him in that position, but it also left him with incentive for the postseason.

"Ten years down the road, it's not something I'm going to be dwelling on," Bacigalupo said. "I will say it put some fire in my belly. When I knew I was going to play Brown [in the semifinals], I told myself, 'These are the people that did it to me.' I knew the Final Four was a chance to let everyone know I'm still on top."

Bacigalupo allowed 15 goals and made 29 saves in the Final Four. The last team to allow fewer goals in the Final Four was Johns Hopkins, which gave up 12 when it beat Virginia and Syracuse in 1985.

Bacigalupo, Lowe and Reinhardt were joined on the all-tournament team by junior attackman Scott Conklin, who had four goals yesterday. The Cavaliers placed attackmen Michael Watson and Tim Whiteley, defenseman Matt Crisp and goalie James Ireland on the team, which included Syracuse midfielder Dom Fin and Brown midfielder Robert Gutheil.

Whiteley had nine assists in the Final Four. Like Bacigalupo, he and Watson went to St. Paul's.

Another record crowd

An NCAA tournament attendance record was set for the third straight day. The 24,730 fans were the most to watch the championship game. The three-day total, 60,600, was nearly 10,000 more than last year.

Next year's tournament, the 25th, also will be held at Byrd Stadium. The NCAA lacrosse committee will award the 1996 and 1997 championships next month, and the University of Maryland's desire to continue as host wasn't hurt by the turnout.

Miscellaneous

Tomeo, a Princeton midfielder, received a public reprimand by the NCAA lacrosse committee for taunting Brown coach Peter Lasagna after scoring a first-quarter goal in the semifinals. Tomeo's transportation and per diem expenses for the Final Four were withheld. . . . The Tigers have won five straight overtime games since they were eliminated by Towson State in the 1991 quarterfinals in three extra sessions. . . . Virginia beat North Carolina, the 1991 champion, in the quarterfinals, defeated 1993 champion Syracuse in the semifinals and yesterday lost to 1992 and 1994 winner Princeton.

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