Lacrosse wins by one, keeps title dream alive

Sports Staff Writer
Monday, April 23, 2012

The men’s lacrosse team pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the program’s recent memory Saturday, defeating No. 3 Cornell 10-9 in Ithaca. A goal from Sam Hurster ’14 with four seconds remaining handed the Big Red (9-2, 4-1 Ivy) its first conference loss this season and snapped Cornell’s six-game winning streak. The victory keeps the Bears (6-7, 2-3) in contention for the final Ivy League playoff spot.

“The team just keeps getting better,” said Head Coach Lars Tiffany ’90. “We keep playing better and better lacrosse just about every time we step out onto the field, and for a coach, that’s a genuinely rewarding feeling.”

The Big Red got on the scoreboard first, netting two unassisted goals in the first eight minutes to grab a 2-0 lead. But the Bears fought back, scoring four unanswered goals from four different players to take a 4-2 lead midway through the second quarter.

Cornell responded with a goal of its own six minutes before halftime, but the strike was offset by Nick Piroli’s ’15 second goal of the game. Going into the break, the scoreboard read 5-3 in Bruno’s favor.

“We told our men, ‘Cornell is going to score goals. You’re going to hear the band fired up. There will be a lot of momentum going their way,'” Tiffany said. “We told them to be focused and stay together, and they did a great job.”

Bruno’s lead began to dwindle at the start of the second half after the Big Red’s Connor English scored four minutes in. Goals from Shane McHugh ’13 and Hurster sandwiched two more Cornell strikes, giving the Bears a slim 7-6 lead.

The two sides swapped goals throughout the final 15 minutes of play that led up to Hurster’s heroics. The Big Red scored 30 seconds into the fourth quarter to tie the game, only to fall behind once again after a goal from Hurster two minutes later. Two more Cornell tallies and a score from Steven Chmil ’14 tied the score at 9-9 with only a minute left.

With 20 seconds remaining, Parker Brown ’12 wove back and forth behind the Big Red goal, looking for a path to the goal. Seeing an opening, Parker Brown cut up from behind the left post and found Hurster, who faked a shot and then fired home the game-winner.

“It’s an incredible emotion to win by one,” Tiffany said. “What I really feel great about is how we stepped up late in the game. Our responsibility is to win games, not just keep it close.”

Bruno will host Dartmouth (3-8, 1-4) Saturday in the final game of the season at Stevenson Field. The Bears need a win against the Big Green, as well as a loss from Harvard, to snatch the last conference playoff spot.

“(This win) keeps our goal of winning an Ivy League title alive,” Tiffany said. “We really just enjoy competing as a team and being together, and we don’t want that to end.”

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