- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 29, 2001

PRINCETON 10, SYRACUSE 9

PISCATAWAY, N.J. Princeton junior attackman B.J. Prager made the most out of his first final four.
Ryan Boyle found Prager streaking toward the crease with 41 seconds remaining in overtime against top-seeded Syracuse. In one motion Prager caught and shot the ball past goalie Rob Mulligan for a 10-9 win and the NCAA Division I men's lacrosse national championship before 21,286 at Rutgers Stadium yesterday.
Prager missed last year's final four with a torn right ACL and was forced to watch his team lose to the Orangemen in the title game. The overtime goal was his fourth of the day and seventh of the final four, earning him most outstanding player honors.
Under coach Bill Tierney, the Tigers (14-1) have won six national titles, all since 1992, with four of the six coming in overtime. Tierney's six championships tie him with former Syracuse coach Roy Simmons Jr. for the most titles. With the win, Princeton avenged its only loss of the season, 14-8 at Syracuse (13-3).
"I got open and I shot it as quick as I could, and I'm glad it went in," Prager said. "I worked for 13 months to get to this position, and I couldn't think of anything better than what happened today. The coaches early on this year wanted to make sure I was healthy for the playoffs. They kind of held me back from certain things. They sat me out [against Virginia] even though I could have played and it was an important game. It was all leading up to the playoffs."
The game did not seem destined for overtime after three quarters. Princeton controlled play and held an 8-4 lead. Through 45 minutes of play, Mulligan was the only bright spot for the Orangemen with 12 of his 14 saves, including seven in the third, to keep the Tigers from blowing out his team. The four goals were the fewest Syracuse scored through three quarters all season, and its three goals at halftime were also a season low.
"Their team defense was tremendous," said Syracuse coach John Desko, whose team has appeared in the title game in all three of his seasons as coach. "We got a little rattled… . You never want to fall behind a team like that early, and we did that… . They controlled the tempo for a big part of the game."
But Syracuse ruled the final quarter. The Orangemen fired 19 shots in the final 15 minutes to Princeton's five and as a result climbed back into the contest. Syracuse scored four goals in less than eight minutes and tied the game at 8-8. Princeton took a 9-8 lead with 6:13 to play on a goal by Prager, but Syracuse came back with a goal by freshman Mike Powell, a first team All-American, with 19 seconds left.
Desko called plenty of isolation plays for Powell in the final quarter and overtime, letting Powell take the ball on the wing and attack defender Damien Davis. Powell's game-tying goal was on an isolation, and he recorded two goals and an assist in the final quarter. Powell finished with two goals and two assists.
But he was the only threat on Syracuse's potent attack. Mike Springer, who scored six goals in his team's semifinal win over Notre Dame, was shut down by Scott Farrell and did not score a point. Syracuse's third attackman, Liam Banks, last year's most outstanding player of the final four, had just one assist.
"We came up with a gameplan we hadn't used before [on Springer]," Farrell said. "We never used to slide off him. We used more help on him than we had in the past."
Princeton won the faceoff in overtime but got a poor shot from Matt Streibel (two goals, two assists). Syracuse cleared the ball and got it to Powell, but he was stripped by Davis, who guarded Powell's brother Ryan in the title game last year. After a fight for the groundball, in which Powell said he was tripped by Ryan Mollett, Mollett scooped it and started the game-winning play. Syracuse did not get a shot off in overtime.
Boyle's assist on the game-winner was his third of the day. Princeton goalie Trevor Tierney stopped 14 shots, and midfielder Brad Dumont added two goals for the Tigers. Brian Solliday, Pat Hogan, and Spencer Wright each scored two goals for Syracuse.


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