Ivy League men’s lacrosse tournament preview

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If there was any doubt about the parity and competitiveness of Ivy League men’s lacrosse, that was put to rest May 1. Each of the league’s three final games was decided by one goal, and when the dust settled, four teams were locked in a tie for first place — the first four-way championship tie in Ivy men’s lacrosse history.

While all four teams — Princeton, Brown, Cornell, and Yale — have earned the right to call themselves champions, only one will get the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. And, thanks to the new Ivy League tournament, the winner will be settled at Cornell’s Schoellkopf Field. No. 2 seed Princeton takes on No. 3 seed Yale May 7 at 5 p.m., and No. 1 seed Cornell plays No. 4 seed Brown at 8 p.m. The championship, to be televised on ESPNU, will be played May 9 at noon. Below, PAW provides brief sketches of the four champions.

2. Princeton (9-4, 4-2 Ivy)

National rank: No. 8 (Inside Lacrosse), No. 9 (USILA)

Top scorers: Jack McBride ’11 (27 goals, 12 assists), Mike Chanenchuk ’13 (27 goals, eight assists), Rob Engelke ’10 (12 goals, 19 assists), Chris McBride ’11 (15 goals, six assists), Jeff Froccaro ’13 (15 goals, six assists)

In net: Tyler Fiorito ’12 (8.8 goals-against average, 140 saves)

Latest news: After back-to-back losses to finish the Ivy season (at Harvard and vs. Cornell), the Tigers enter the tournament with something to prove. Princeton, which started the year with impressive wins against Hofstra and Johns Hopkins, has not beaten a ranked opponent since April 3.

Slow starts have been a large part of the problem. Against Cornell, the Tigers trailed 9-3 before mounting a remarkable fourth-quarter comeback that fell just short. (The Big Red won 10-9.) “It’s been the story of our season,” senior attack Scott MacKenzie told The Times of Trenton. “I don’t know what we have to do. But if we’re going to make a run at the playoffs, we’ve got to change that.”

3. Yale (10-3, 4-2 Ivy)

National rank: No. 18 (Inside Lacrosse), No. 15 (USILA)

Top scorers: Matt Gibson (26 goals, 18 assists), Brian Douglass (29 goals, five assists), Brendan Gibson (16 goals, 15 assists)

In net: Johnathan Falcone (8.7 goals-against average, 106 saves)

Latest news: Each team in the tournament is vying for an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, but Yale may have the most to gain in the opening round. The Bulldogs had a relatively weak schedule outside the Ivies, so a first-round win over Princeton would boost their chances of earning an at-large NCAA bid. Yale started the Ivy season 0-2 and won its last four league games, including a 9-8 thriller over Harvard May 1.

1. Cornell (9-4, 4-2 Ivy)

National rank: No. 6 (Inside Lacrosse), No. 7 (USILA)

Top scorers: Rob Pannell (22 goals, 39 assists), Ryan Hurley (32 goals, seven assists), Chris Ritchie (16 goals, seven assists)

In net: A.J. Fiore (8.8 goals-against average, 105 saves)

Latest news: Cornell’s strong start against Princeton (a 4-0 lead in the first 10 minutes) was a good indication of why most teams would prefer to steer clear of the Big Red in May. Last season, Cornell advanced all the way to the NCAA final, dropping a tight championship game to Syracuse. This year’s team also could be dangerous in the postseason, particularly when playing at home.

4. Brown (8-5, 4-2 Ivy)

National rank: No. 17 (Inside Lacrosse and USILA)

Top scorers: Andrew Feinberg (34 goals, six assists), Thomas Muldoon (27 goals, 10 assists), Reade Seligman (12 goals, 19 assists), Parker Brown (19 goals, 11 assists)

In net: Matt Chriss (10.2 goals-against average, 134 saves)

Latest news: Thomas Muldoon’s game-winning overtime goal against Dartmouth May 1 clinched the Ivy tournament’s final spot and set up a rematch with a familiar opponent. A week earlier, the Bears had kept their Ivy championship hopes alive with an impressive 13-10 win at Cornell. Muldoon starred in that game as well, scoring three goals.