No. 18 Cornell Upends No. 16 Princeton in Overtime

PRINCETON, N.J. With history against them and a pro-Tigers crowd in the stands, the No. 18 Cornell women's lacrosse team bucked the trend by defeating No. 16 Princeton by a 13-12 margin in overtime at Class of 1952 Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Big Red scored two goals in overtime to the Tigers' one, and Jessi Steinberg's fourth goal of the afternoon gave Cornell just its fourth win all-time against Princeton in 34 meetings. Cornell won for the second consecutive time on Princeton's campus as it beat the Tigers 11-8 two years ago.

The victory looked like it was going to come in regulation, as Cornell held an 11-9 advantage with 6:23 to go. But the lead evaporated as the Tigers scored twice to force overtime.

"We were disappointed that we gave up those two to let them tie it in regulation, but it was important we didn't dwell on that," coach Jenny Graap said. "It was really important that we got our confidence back and our focus back. ... We tried to keep the tone one of support because at that point it's a whole new game."

Just 48 seconds into overtime, Salisbury completed her hat trick, speeding into the eight-meter fan and going short side to beat Princeton goalie Annie Woehling.

"It gave us a lot of momentum," Salisbury said. "And then Jessi had a nice goal, too, and that gave us a lead that they couldn't [overcome]."

Princeton won the next draw control but turned the ball over, and Steinberg capitalized on the turnover when she faked high and shot low. Cornell's 13-11 was a short-lived one, though, as Princeton scored with 0.3 seconds left until the teams switched sides.

In the second half of overtime, Cornell held strong on defense when freshman Claire MacManus forced a turnover after Princeton won the draw. Once the team had possession, the Big Red drained the clock, playing keepaway with the ball in the final minute as the buzzer sounded and the celebration began.

"Claire MacManus stepped up and made that great play at the end there, getting the ball back and bringing it down the field," Graap said. "The whole game was a pretty darn good defensive effort."

Salisbury, Katie Kirk and McHugh each scored three goals in the contest, and Steinberg's four goals completed the Big Red offense. The overtime win was Cornell's first since March 20 of last season when it beat Notre Dame 6-5. Steinberg also scored the game-winner in that contest.

Cornell (7-2, 3-1 Ivy League) has now won more games this season than it had all of last year and has scored more goals in 2012 (133) than it did in all of 2011 (131). The Big Red improved to 2-0 after a loss this year, is 3-1 in Ivy League play for the first time since 2006 and beat its first ranked opponent since knocking off Florida in 2011's season finale.

Saturday's victory was important in the Ivy League standings, as Princeton (4-4, 2-1) dropped its first Ancient Eight contest. The Big Red, meanwhile, moved up to third place in a conference where the top four teams advance to the league tournament. It also was key to get a victory in its second game of a brutal five-game stretch against ranked opponents. Dartmouth, Loyola and Syracuse still await before the team's most difficult portion of the schedule is complete.

"I'm certainly pleased with where we are," Graap said. "We don't want to peak until tournament time. As long as we stay committed to the work ethic, I feel good."

The entire contest was a back-and-forth affair with neither side holding a lead larger than two goals at any time. Cornell held the early advantage in the draw control category and finished the game with a 15-13 advantage on the draw, but the tilt seemed like it was destined for overtime from the early going.

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2012-03-31



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