- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 28, 2002

PISCATAWAY, N.J. The law of percentages was bound to catch up with Princeton coach Bill Tierney.
Tierney had a one-goal loss in the NCAA tournament for the first time in more than 10 years, as second-seeded Syracuse dropped the fourth-seeded Tigers 13-12 yesterday for its second NCAA DivisionI men's championship in three years.
Tierney is now 13-2 in postseason one-goal games, with the only other loss coming to Towson State (14-13 in three overtimes) in the 1991 quarterfinals. Syracuse avenged last year's overtime title game defeat to Princeton, and now has eight national championships, seven according to the NCAA. The Orangemen's 1990 title was vacated because the NCAA ruled midfielder Paul Gait was ineligible.
"You don't stop any individuals on Syracuse, you just try your best to try different defensive schemes," said Tierney, who is now 6-2 in finals. "You just hope you can score one more goal than they do, but we weren't able to do that today."
Syracuse led 12-7 less than five minutes into the second half, and then attempted to slow down the pace. It backfired, and Princeton mounted a comeback. The Tigers reeled off three straight goals to end the third quarter, but Syracuse sophomore Mike Powell had an answer. He scored what proved to be the game-winner with 11:35 to go in the fourth, extending the Orangemen's lead to 13-11. It was Syracuse's only goal in the final 25:24.
Powell, named the Most Outstanding Player, finished with four goals and three assists. He now has equaled the championships of his All-American brothers, Casey and Ryan, who both won one title with Syracuse.
"I couldn't ask for a better time to play well," said Powell, a first-team All-American for the second consecutive year. "Coach was trying to slow it down towards the end and I don't like to slow it down that much."
Princeton got that picture early, and saw its early 2-0 lead evaporate quickly. Princeton (10-5) led 5-4 after one quarter before Syracuse (15-2) outscored the Tigers 8-2 to lead by five early in the third.
Then Princeton's defense, which was baffled in that span, began to communicate and handle the Orangemen's weapons. The defensive intensity translated into more chances on the offensive end, and Princeton went on a run, led by Baltimore's Brad Dumont, who scored two goals early in the fourth to cut the lead to one. But Powell responded, and Princeton could not tie the game, although it had a chance in the final seconds.
Syracuse began celebrating prematurely, and was flagged for an illegal substitution. The bench ran onto the field, and chaos ensued. After a conference by the officials, Princeton was awarded a man-up possession with six seconds left. Sean Hartofolis took the ball on the restart 40 yards from the cage, but the Tigers could not get off a shot. Hartofolis quickly gave it up to Dumont, but Dumont who was pressured could not handle the pass. He scooped the grounder and attempted to pass back to Hartofolis as time expired.
"I threw the ball to Brad, and he wanted to try and get it back to me or shoot it low through a screen," said Hartofolis, who scored three goals. "We just were hoping to get a shot off. There was nothing set up."
Princeton goalie Julian Gould struggled during Syracuse's onslaught, but made some key saves late, and finished with 13. Orangemen goalie Jay Pfeifer followed a career-high 19 saves in the semifinal with 13 yesterday.
Syracuse received multi-goal games from Brian Solliday (three) and Josh Coffman (two). Princeton's Ryan Boyle and Mark Pellegrino each had two goals.
"We had a chance," Tierney said. "We had the ball down a goal with six seconds left, but you've got to give credit to Syracuse. They made a great defensive play."


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