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May 8, 2011

Cornell Offense Comes Alive in Second Half as Big Red Claim 2011 Men's Lacrosse Tournament Championship

Box Score | Photo Gallery | Press Conferences: Harvard | Cornell

ITHACA, N.Y. -- After a back-forth-start that saw Harvard and Cornell knotted at 2-2 late into the second quarter, the Big Red man-up attack came alive and propelled the Big Red to a 15-6 victory before 1,601 fans at Cornell's Schoellkopf Field on a sunny Sunday afternoon.  

Harvard entered Sunday's championship game looking to assure itself of its first NCAA Championship appearance since 2006, while Cornell wanted to put the finishing touches on an unbeaten Ivy League regular-season by also winning the post-season tournament championship.

Cornell scored four goals in a row, including three man-up tallies, from late in the second quarter to 13:02 mark of the third to pull ahead 6-2 and never looked back.

Steve Mock finished with five goals, the single game high in the six Ivy Tournament games played to date, and Rob Pannell, JJ Gilbane, David Lau and Jack Dudley each scored twice to pace the Big Red offense.

Harvard's Matt Hull netted a hat trick to lead the Crimson, while Ryan Stevens added two goals for the Harvard attack.  

The goalies were busy and were the stars of the first half. Harry Kreiger ended up with 16 saves in the Crimson net. Nine of Krieger's saves came in the first half and Harvard's Christian Coates made two saves over the final four minutes of play. In the Cornell cage,  AJ Fiore recorded eight saves in the game, including five in the first half.

The Big Red and the rest of the Ivies will learn their NCAA Championship fates tonight when the selections to the 2011 NCAA Div. I Men's Lacrosse Championship field are revealed 9:00 p.m. on ESPNU.

After Fiore made two big saves to start the game in the Cornell net, Krieger made a difficult save from just off the crease but Cornell picked up the ground ball and Pannell opened the scoring with an unassisted goal just over three minutes into the contest. Mock then fired Cornell to a 2-0 lead.  Hull got the Crimson on the board with a dodge that enabled him a one-on-one chance versus Fiore, which he buried for his 12th of the year. Ryan Stevens then scored at 11:45 of the second to tie the game at 2-2.

Kreiger and Fiore continued to hold both offenses at bay for most of the second quarter, but a 3:00 minute penalty assessed to the Crimson near the end of second quarter signaled a momentum shift.

Cody Bremner scored on the man-up to make it 3-2 in favor of Cornell and then Mitch McMichael netted another man-up goal (Harvard's penalty was non-releasable) and the Big Red took a 4-2 lead to the locker room.

Mock then scored 10 seconds into the second half while still with the man-up, putting the Big Red up 5-2 and after Fiore stoned Harvard's Jeff Cohen on the doorstep, Mike O'Neil put Cornell up 6-2.

Stevens broke the stretch of four straight Cornell goals when he made it 6-3, but a defensive stand by Cornell led to a JJ Gilbane goal at 6:34 of the third to restore Cornell's four-goal lead. The Big Red went on to score 10 of the game's next 12 goals to win 16-5.  

Following the championship, Rob Pannell was voted the Tournament's Most Outstanding Player by members of the media.

2011 Ivy League All-Tournament Team

Most Outstanding Player – Rob Pannell (Cornell)

A - Rob Pannell (Cornell)

A – Dean Gibbons (Harvard)

A – Steve Mock (Cornell)

A – David Lau (Cornell)

M – Roy Lang (Cornell)

D – Mike Bronzino (Cornell)

D – Jason Noble (Cornell)

D – Paul Pate (Harvard)

D – Max Feely (Cornell)

G – AJ Fiore (Cornell)