No. 2 Cornell Handles No. 17 Harvard to Win Ivy

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Cornell won its first-ever Ivy League tournament title with a 15-6 win over No. 17 Harvard on Sunday afternoon at Schoellkopf Field. The Big Red improved its win streak to 10 games with the triumph behind a suffocating defense and an offense that rolled through the final 32 minutes with 13 goals. Harvard fell to 10-6 with the loss. Cornell will learn its NCAA tournament first round NCAA opponent when the pairings are announced on ESPNU tonight at 9:00 p.m.

A three-minute unreleasable illegal stick penalty on Harvard late in the second quarter turned a tight 2-2 game into 5-2 Cornell advantage early in the third quarter. From there, the Big Red rolled, outscoring Harvard 11-4 after halftime. Cornell also dominated the face-off circle against one of the nation's best groups, winning 15 of 23 draws to prove decisive.

Junior Rob Pannell, the tournament's Most Valuable Player, scored five points with two goals and three assists despite being face-guarded most of the afternoon. All-tournament selection Steve Mock scored five times and David Lau was credited with two goals and two assists. JJ Gilbane also found the back of the net twice and Mitch McMichael had a goal and assist. In all, 10 different players registered at least one point and eight Big Red players caused at least one turnover. McMichael also won 3 of 5 face-offs and freshman Doug Tesoriero was incredible, winning 12 of 18 in the circle with eight ground balls. The Cornell defense caused 12 turnovers in front of sophomore AJ Fiore, who made eight saves and won three ground balls while allowing just five goals.

Harvard's Harry Krieger was solid in goal, registering 16 saves, nine of which came in the first half as he kept the Crimson within striking distance. Matt Hull led the offense with three goals and an assist and Ryan Stevens notched two scores. Kevin Vaughan posted eight ground balls and two caused turnovers from his midfield position.

The Big Red jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but the Crimson rallied to tie the game early in the second quarter. The low-scoring affair saw Pannell score the first goal after holding off a defender on a crease roll, hesitating for a second and shooting the ball past Krieger. A broken play put the Big Red up 2-0, as Lau picked up a checked ball and threaded the needle to Mock, who put the ball in the back of the cage to make it 2-0 with 6:21 left in the first.

The Crimson scored with 5:11 left in the first, then again with 11:45 remaining on the clock in the second to knot the game. Hull scored the first goal, with Stevens registering the second score.

With both teams defenses and goalkeepers playing near-perfect games, the decisive play may have been the three minute unreleasable penalty with 2:46 to play in the half. The Big Red scored twice to turn a 2-2 game into a 4-2 advantage heading into the break. Both McMichael and Bremner scored on the extra-man, with McMichael assisting on Bremner's goal. The Big Red was playing 5-on-4 on the extra-man, as Harvard decided to continue to faceguard Pannell in the man-down. The junior pulled himself out of the offense and stood in the corner, allowing Cornell even more space in the attacking zone. Cornell took possession in the third with 14 seconds left on the extra-man advantage and was able to cap the penalty with another score as Pannell took the ball in, skirted a double-team and found Mock to make it 5-2 just 10 seconds into the half.

The Crimson earned its first extra-man opportunity with a one-minute chance at the 14:34 mark, but a Fiore save and a Big Red clear allowed the penalty expired. On the other end, Lau found Mike O'Neil to make it 6-2 with 13:02 left.

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