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Saturday, May 23, 2009
Cornell upsets top-seeded Virginia

Associated Press

FOXBORO, Mass. -- Syracuse is back in the NCAA men's lacrosse title game.

The defending champion Orange (15-2) stopped third-seeded Duke 17-7 in a Division I semifinal Saturday at Gillette Stadium and will play in Monday's final against Cornell (1 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Syracuse, seeded second, is pursuing its 11th national title.

Cornell, the fifth seed, stunned top-seeded Virginia 15-6 in the other semifinal. The Big Red (13-3) won their first NCAA Division I title in 1971 and followed it with titles in 1976 and 1977. But they have not been to a national championship game since 1988.

And in that game, Cornell's opponent was Syracuse, which won 13-8.

"I hope we can prepare ourselves for that next juggernaut in Syracuse," Cornell coach Jeff Tambroni said.

Kenny Nims and Patrick Perritt each had four goals for Syracuse on Saturday. Cody Jamieson added two goals, giving him six for the tournament, and freshman Tim Desko also had two. Nine players scored for Syracuse.

"I'm very happy with how we played today," said Syracuse coach John Desko, who is Tim's father. "We got some saves from our goaltender, especially early, so that was a very good defensive effort. And offensively we were able to score in settled and unsettled situations."

Max Quinzani and Zach Howell had three goals apiece for the Blue Devils (15-4), who have never won an NCAA title.

This was the fifth time Syracuse has beaten Duke in six meetings.

Chris Daniello and Joel White scored unassisted to make it 2-0 for Syracuse in the first quarter. Duke responded with two goals from Howell, both on passes from Ned Crotty, to tie it.

They really dug in during a game where we knew we wouldn't have a lot of believers out there. We knew we needed to believe first and play hard second.

-- Cornell coach Jeff Tambroni

But Perritt sent a shot by Duke goalie Rob Schroeder on the short side and Nims beat Schroeder unassisted with a second left in the first quarter to make it 4-2.

Syracuse goalie John Galloway, who missed the quarterfinal win over Maryland because of illness, made big saves in the second quarter. Perritt scored twice as Syracuse extended its lead to 8-4 at the half.

"Coach said during the week just try to place the ball, shoot it overhand and put it to the far corners and that's what I tried to do and it worked," Perritt said.

Jake Moulton scored his second goal of the season seven seconds into the third quarter with a quick rush after the faceoff. Howell's third goal brought Duke within 9-5, but Perritt fired a cross-field pass to Hardy, who made it 10-5.

"They made some tremendous looks and plays," Duke coach John Danowski said. "If we left someone open, the ball was in his stick and out quickly."

Virginia (15-3) had beaten Cornell 14-10 in March, but the Big Red, led by Rob Pannell's three goals and three assists, got the upper hand Saturday.

Ryan Hurley had three goals and an assist, and Chris Finn added three goals for Cornell, which jumped on the Cavaliers early.

Tim Desko
Freshman Tim Desko leaps onto Chris Daniello after scoring one of his two goals in Syracuse's NCAA Division I semifinal victory.

Finn scored first; Jonathan Thompson scooped up a loose ball in front of the goal and fired it past Virginia goalie Adam Ghitelman; and Hurley's 42nd goal of the season with a man advantage made it 3-0 just five minutes into the game.

"We are thrilled and proud of the effort of our guys," Tambroni said. "They really dug in during a game where we knew we wouldn't have a lot of believers out there. We knew we needed to believe first and play hard second."

Danny Glading opened the scoring for Virginia with an unassisted goal but Pannell's first goal made it 4-1 The Big Red stretched it to 6-1 when Rocco Romero scored the first of his two goals and then found Hurley with a pass on the doorstep of the goal.

In a stretch spanning the first and second quarters, Cornell held the Cavaliers, who averaged more than 13 goals a game this year, scoreless for 17 minutes.

"Cornell did a really good job on the 50-50 ground balls after faceoffs so we didn't see the ball very often on offense because they were being so patient with their offense," Glading said.

Shamel Bratton broke the drought for Virginia in the second quarter, but Pannell's second goal of the game and Finn's second from Pannell boosted the Cornell lead to an 8-2 lead at the half.

Steele Stanwick scored twice for Virginia in the third quarter, but the Big Red extended the lead to 11-4 after three quarters.

"They did what we thought they were going to do but they did it better than they had been doing it," Virginia midfielder Mike Timms said.