Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/7/23
From Press Release
Matt Madalon sat down on the floor of the Columbia football lockerroom, leaned back against a wall and said this to nobody in particular: “Two ways in. Two ways in.”
It’s been the Princeton men’s lacrosse coach’s mantra since Day 1 on the job. You have two ways into the NCAA tournament. Last year his Tigers used one way, through an at-large bid. This
year, his Tigers came into this weekend’s Ivy League tournament needing the other, the automatic bid, which was the prize for this weekend’s winner.
Was that winner Princeton? You could tell by what Madalon said after the part about having two ways in, which he punctuated with “Heck Yeah!!”
Princeton rolled past Yale 19-10 Sunday afternoon at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium, following up on its 9-8 win over Penn Friday night with a dominant performance from the opening whistle to earn the Ivy League’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Princeton will learn its NCAA draw later tonight at 9:30 on ESPN. Princeton reached the Final Four a year ago.
Michael Gianforcaro (Duke’s LC/Lincoln University native) followed up his 15-save performance against Penn with 17 more against Yale to earn the tournament MVP award.
If Friday night’s win was tense and heart-stopping, the win Sunday afternoon was just a Princeton party, from the alums in the stands to the players on the field.
It took Princeton six seconds to score, as Andrew McMeekin (Episcopal Academy, 16/29 FO) won the face-off and pushed it to Alex Slusher, who ripped it into the goal. Yale answered 15 seconds later, but the crazy first 61 seconds were just getting going. The craziest moment in that stretch came on a perfectly executed hidden-ball trick, which resulted in a shot by Beau Pederson into the vacant net, making it 2-1.
Yale had a chance to tie it, but Gianforcaro made a save and threw it deep to Jake Stevens, who made it 3-1 after 1:01 was gone. Princeton wasn’t done scoring, and neither was Stevens.
The 3-1 lead grew to 7-1 with four minutes left in the quarter. It was a 13-3 game at intermission as Princeton was nearly flawless all over the field. Stevens finished with six goals, a career-best, on six shots. Sean Cameron had three goals, Coulter Mackesy had two goals and three assists and nine different players scored at least once.
While Princeton and Penn went down to the wire Friday night, Yale, in the first semifinal, beat Cornell 22-15, reversing the first meeting between the teams, which Cornell won 23-10. Couple that with the fact that Princeton beat Yale 23-10 during the regular season and that in every Ivy tournament game the last two years, the five teams that had lost the regular season game won the rematch, and the final figured to be a tossup.
Yale was led against Cornell by its dynamic attack of Chris Lyons (Shawnee, 2G, 2A), Matt Brandau and Leo Johnson, who combined for 24 points in the game. Against Princeton Sunday, the swarming Tiger defense held them to a combined four goals and four assists.
McMeekin, who won the face-off with 13 seconds left Friday night after Penn had closed to one, went 16 for 29 with 12 ground balls against Yale to earn an All-Tournament spot, as did Stevens, Cameron and Beau Pederson.
Princeton won the Ivy tournament for the second time, after winning the first in 2010.