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NCAA men’s D1: Princeton advances to first Final Four since 2004; Knobloch helps Rutgers make semis for first time in win over Penn

Saturday, 21st May 2022

Categories Boy's/Men's, College, Posted 5/21/22
From Press Releases

A 7-0 run in the first half propelled No. 5 seed Princeton to a 14-10 win over No. 4 seed Yale at Hofstra University, booking the Tigers’ first trip to the national semifinals since 2004.

The Tigers were quick to take the lead, Colter Mackesy scoring 0:07 into the game. The Bulldogs countered with the next three, building a 3-1 lead in a span of 2:28.

Princeton settled in and found its offense from there, scoring the game’s next seven goals to streak out to an 8-3 lead. Seven different Tigers scored during that run which started with a Jake Stevens goal and ended with Mackesy’s second of the game.

The Bulldogs ultimately were held off the scoreboard for 20:22 of game play during the first half before Chris Lyons scored with 4:44 left in the second quarter to end Princeton’s run. Yale would add another goal before the end of the half and strike early in the third to close to within two at 8-6, but the Tigers would have an answer to each Yale challenge the rest of the way.

Each time Yale would score, Princeton countered immediately, including goals from English and Chris Brown that extended Princeton’s lead from two goals to four with 9:40 left in the fourth quarter. For Brown, the goal was the 100th of his career.

English finished with a team-high three goals, Princeton deploying a balanced offense which featured nine different goal scorers during the game. Coulter Mackesy, Alexander Vardaro and Christian Ronda each had two goals.

Erik Peters made 17 saves in goal, including 10 in the second half. George Baughan (Springfield-Montco) had three groundballs and a caused turnover to lead the Princeton defense.

The Tigers await the winner of the No. 1 Maryland/Virginia game, and will play them May 28 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn.

Rutgers 11, Penn 9

Shane Knobloch (Moorestown) had three goals to help Rutgers punch a ticket to the Final Four for the first time in program history. The No. 6 seed Scarlet Knights upended No. 3 seed Penn at Hofstra.

The win over the Quakers marked the team’s first time winning two consecutive NCAA Tournament games, reaching the Final Four for the first time. The team is the second overall Rutgers program to make the Final Four this season (women’s soccer) and the first Rutgers’ men’s program to make a Final Four since 1994 (men’s soccer).

The defeat of No. 3 Penn ties for the program’s highest ranked win in program history (No. 3 Ohio State in 2017 and No. 3 UMass in 2003) and the highest seeded team RU has ever defeated in an NCAA Tournament. It is the sixth ranked win in one season for the program, marking the most ranked victories in one campaign (records dating to 2003).

The third top-10 win would mark three top-10 wins in consecutive seasons. Rutgers has 33 ranked wins since 2003 (24 under head coach Brian Brecht, all since 2015) and the team is 11-6 against ranked foes in the past two years.

The team snapped Penn’s seven game winning streak and improved to 29-6 all-time against Penn in a series that dates back to 1925 but has not been contested since 1986. Rutgers has won five NCAA Tournament games in its history, with three of those coming over the past two seasons.

Rutgers will now play in the Final Four next weekend, continuing to raise the bar for the program. RU will head to Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. They will play on Saturday, May 28 at either noon or 2:30 pm, facing the winner of Sunday’s Quarterfinal game between No. 7 seed Cornell and unseeded Delaware.

How It Happened

First Quarter
RU’s defense was locked in early, with no scoring through the first 10 minutes of the game. Colin Kirst made two big early saves, including one on a Penn extra-man attempt. Ross Scott would finally crack the lid on the scoring, tallying the first goal of the game on an unassisted tally, wrapping around the net to put RU ahead 1-0 at the 4:57 mark. RU’s second goal came from Knobloch, who fired off a laser on the run for the 2-0 lead. The Scarlet Knights held Penn scoreless in the opening quarter, with Kirst making four saves and holding Penn to 0-for-2 on the extra-man.

Second Quarter
Early in the second quarter, Penn finally snapped a scoring drought over 16 minutes long to start the game, getting back within 2-1. The Quakers tied the game at 2-2 shortly after. Ronan Jacoby had the next tally, scoring to put RU ahead 3-2. Penn would then equalize the game at 3-3.
RU went back ahead 4-3 on a spectacular man-down effort. RU got the stop on the defense end and then fired up the transition game, with Cole Daninger racing the ball down the field, and finding Ethan Rall in front of the net, as the All-American LSM hammered home the goal. Penn tied it at 4-4 in the final minute of the frame. At halftime, the score was even. RU had a 30-18 advantage in shots, but Penn’s goalkeeper made 11 first half saves.

Third Quarter
To start the third quarter, Kirst made a pair of great saves, and RU capitalized on the other end. Mitch Bartolo rocketed it home to put RU back ahead 5-4. Zackary Franckowiak tallied next, as the senior came through to put RU back up by two, 6-4 with 5:58 left in the third quarter. Penn’s first goal of the second half came at 5:22, getting them back within one, and another tally on their next possession tied the game. At the end of the third quarter, the score remained even at 6-6.

Fourth Quarter
Early in the fourth quarter, Penn took its first lead of the day at 7-6, then they added to that lead at 8-6, with their fourth consecutive goal.
Knobloch ended that run as he launched in a goal to get RU back within one at 8-7 with nine minutes to play. Then just 24 seconds later, Ross Scott found Bartolo in front, who put home an equalizer to tie the game at 8-8.

Freshman Dante Kulas scored a huge goal to give RU the lead at 9-8. Shane Knobloch added another tally to give RU a two-goal lead and then it was defenseman Bryant Bosewell scoring his first goal as a Scarlet Knight to ice the game. Penn had one last push, but RU held it off to clinch the win and ensure that Rutgers would head to the Final Four for the first time in program history.

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