- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 26, 2009

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. | More than two months of the college lacrosse season had elapsed, and Syracuse attackman Cody Jamieson had yet to secure an eligibility waiver from the NCAA.

At times, it was like “Waiting for Godot.” In hindsight, it was simply a matter of biding time until the final piece of a championship team arrived.

Jamieson scored 80 seconds into overtime as the second-seeded Orange surged past fifth-seeded Cornell 10-9 before 41,935 at Gillette Stadium on Monday to lock up the program’s 11th national championship.

With the aid of a wacky flurry in the final seconds of regulation, Syracuse (16-2) erased a three-goal deficit to become the first repeat champion since Princeton from 1996 to 1998.

Much of it was pinned on Jamieson, a powerful transfer from Onondaga Community College who didn’t play until a month before the title game and scored eight of his nine goals in the NCAA tournament.

“He probably, like ourselves, with a couple games left in the season didn’t think he was going to get any season,” coach John Desko said. “All of the sudden, we got a nice surprise with a couple weeks to go.”

And a productive one, just as Syracuse anticipated. The thought of plugging Jamieson, who had 237 points in two junior college seasons, into the Orange’s potent offense produced Pavlovian responses from Syracuse fans eager to collect another title trophy.

Yet Jamieson faced issues with his credits and was not cleared until late April. It left plenty of time to practice and ponder, especially without the chance to play until the final two regular-season games.

“There were definitely times I stayed awake at night lying in bed looking at the ceiling wondering what would transpire after everything I was going through,” Jamieson said.

Even on his best day, though, Monday’s payoff probably seemed slightly far-fetched.

John Glynn scored three goals and added two assists for the Big Red (13-4), who never trailed in the postseason until the game’s final play and yet again imposed their preferred tempo on one of the sport’s bluebloods.

Unlike Virginia two days earlier in the semifinals, Syracuse never let Cornell build too large a lead. Still, the Big Red were content to burn the clock, a successful stratagem to construct a 9-6 lead entering the final five minutes - so close to their first national title since 1977.

Alas, this was Syracuse on Memorial Day, long a devastating combination for the rest of the sport. Stephen Keogh and Jamieson scored to slice it to 9-8, but the Big Red seemed safe when Syracuse attackman Kenny Nims committed a turnover with 27 seconds remaining.

All Cornell needed was a clear. Midfielder Max Seibald considered doing it himself, instead passing to defenseman Matt Moyer. Nims poked it away near midfield, setting off a scrum before Keogh lofted a pass over his back to Matt Abbott. He then spied Nims zipping back to the goal and tossed a pass over his back. Nims hauled it in, firing from inches off the crease with 4.5 seconds left to force overtime.

“I probably should have run it out myself,” Seibald said. “I’ll never forget that.”

Nor will the Orange, who secured another reprieve after losing the overtime faceoff. Sid Smith, Jamieson’s junior college teammate and close friend, checked the ball from Cornell’s Ryan Hurley to give Syracuse a chance to win it.

Jamieson capitalized, depositing midfielder Dan Hardy’s feed before bolting to the other end of the field to celebrate with Smith.

“It’s a good ending,” Jamieson said. “A terrific ending.”

The Orange were a fixture in the top five throughout the season even without Jamieson. His addition, though, was the little bit extra needed to script another chapter for one of lacrosse’s supreme powers.

“Cody is like the ghost of Syracuse lacrosse,” said Nims, the tournament’s most outstanding player. “People waited for him all year, and he finally showed up. That’s what we got him for.”

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