- The Washington Times - Monday, May 27, 2002

PISCATAWAY, N.J. Syracuse All-American attackman Mike Powell has been pointing to this day since last Memorial Day, when his Orangemen fell in overtime to Princeton in the NCAA Division I men's lacrosse championship.
Both Syracuse and Princeton are back in the title game, and Powell wants nothing more than to beat the Tigers for his first championship.
"I'm excited about the rematch," said Powell, who has 38 goals and 39 assists. "If I could draw it up, the championship would be Syracuse and Princeton. It just wouldn't be the championship without us. We're the best two teams and we'll see who the best team is."
This morning's 10:55 start at Rutgers Stadium will have a familiar feel. Like American flags, and barbecues this matchup is a holiday tradition. This is the third consecutive year the second-seeded Orangemen (14-2) and fourth-seeded Tigers (10-4) will battle in the final, and the fourth time overall. The teams have won 12 of the last 14 NCAA championships and have combined for 18 appearances in the final game in the last 15 years.
But to those who say familiarity is bad for lacrosse and that it breeds boredom, both coaches offer a different opinion.
"Absolutely not. It's great for lacrosse. With the automatic qualifiers this year teams [have] opportunities to shoot for the goal. Until someone knocks the crown off Syracuse and Princeton, that's what's best for lacrosse," said Princeton coach Bill Tierney, whose team started 2-4 but reeled off eight straight wins and is poised to capture its seventh title since 1992.
Said Syracuse coach John Desko: "It's great for the sport. A lot of people have come to expect these teams in this game. With Princeton and Syracuse, people show up and turn on the television and know a [Josh] Coffman, a Powell, a [Ryan] Boyle, or a [B.J.] Prager. Fans have stars [this way]."
Princeton fell to Syracuse 11-8 on March 23, but the Tigers have evolved tremendously since then. The key has been their midfield, which was in flux early in the season. Tierney has meshed eight midfielders.


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