Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 3/19/22
From Press Release
If you were looking for madness in March, then the place to be was Princeton’s Sherrerd Field and the men’s lacrosse game between the third-ranked Tigers and sixth-ranked Penn.
In a game that started at a high emotional level in warmups and never let up, it ultimately was a Chris Brown goal on the only possession of overtime that was all that separated these two teams. Brown’s goal, his sixth of the day, gave Princeton a heart-stopping 21-20 victory.
Yes, you saw that right. It was 21-20. The forecast all week was for showers in Princeton Saturday afternoon, but the only thing that rained down on this game was offense. On a day that was clear with temperatures in the 70s that drew a nearly-full house to Sherrerd Field, Princeton played the first game in the entire history of the program in which both teams reached at least 20 goals.
“That was crazy,” Princeton head coach Matt Madalon said. “I’m exhausted, and I didn’t even play.”
Gabe Furey (Episcopal Academy) had two goals for Penn and defenseman George Baughan (Springfield-Montco) had two caused turnovers for Princeton.
The game had pretty much everything, including 94 shots, 99 ground balls, a big comeback by Penn, smaller comebacks by Princeton after giving up a six-goal lead and one incredible individual effort after another from both teams.
It didn’t have a lot of saves, but it did have one huge one, which came from Princeton’s Erik Peters in the final seconds of regulation, when he stopped a rocket shot from James Shipley to force the OT. Tyler Sandoval won the face-off to start the extra period, and Penn backup goalie Emmet Carrol, who came in to replace starter Patrick Burkinshaw and played well with five saves, tipped a shot from Sam English late in the shot clock to allow the Tigers to retain possession and put 60 seconds back on the shot clock. This time Brown made it count, cashing in the winner when Coulter Mackesy picked up a loose ball and got it to the senior, who had a career-high nine-point day with three assists to go with his six goals.
Brown wasn’t the only one with a big day. Penn’s Cam Rubin was unstoppable, with seven goals and two assists. Another Quaker, Sam Handley, looked like the first-team All-American he was as a freshman in 2019, with three goals and eight assists. Time and again Handley created from up top, three times rifling in shots but more often finding his teammates on the crease.
The crowd was already in a frenzy when the game started, and it was defeaning when the Tigers got goals from Christian Ronda, Brown and English in the first four minutes to jump out 3-0. The lead was 9-3 Tigers midway through the second, but this one would be anything but easy.
Penn, which was helped along by going 4 for 5 on extra-man opportunities and with a man-down goal mixed in, would get to 11-9 at the break on Rubin’s sixth goal of the first half with four seconds in the quarter.
Even when the Tigers got up 15-11, Penn did not go away. Instead, the Quakers scored five straight – Handley had a goal and three assists during the run – and just like that Penn had its first lead of the day at 16-15 with 2:11 left in the third. Alexander Vardaro tied it before the end of the quarter, but Penn went up for the second time at 17-16 early in the fourth.
Would Penn pull away? No. Princeton scored three straight, making it 19-17. Would Penn go away? Hah. No way. Suddenly it was 19-19.
Princeton went up 20-19 on a Brown goal with 2:06 left. Would that be the game-winner? It wouldn’t, Ben Smith from Dylan Gergar to tie it with 1:34 to play.
Penn won the face-off but couldn’t do what it had done in its last two games, which is to score in the final second to break a tie game. This time, there was a small difference between game and shot clocks, and Peters – who had been the Ivy Player of the Week the last two weeks but who made eight saves against Penn – robbed Shipley (who had been Penn’s hero the last two weeks against Penn State and Villanova and kept the ball from trickling in.
Brown’s six goals and nine points were both career bests. Vardaro had a three-goal, two-assist afternoon, and Alex Slusher had three as well. Jake Stevens was everywhere with two big goals, an assist and seven ground balls, while English had two goals and two assists. Mackesy, the Ivy Rookie of the Week last week, had a goal and three assists. Christian Ronda had two goals, and Sean Cameron and Tommy Barnds had huge goals as well.