Paul Snyder’s May Lacrosse Journal

Kelleher scores for Cornell

Late April ushers in May Madness in college lacrosse. On Sunday, April 14th I traveled 92 miles up island to Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium at LIU Post in Brookville to watch #1 Notre Dame play #10 Cornell. The game was an instant classic played in front of 7,480 fans.

Cornell scored 30 seconds into the game when freshman sensation Ryan Goldstein scored with an assist from CJ Kirst. Notre Dame then reeled off 3 straight goals led by Valley Stream’s Pat Kavanagh who scored unassisted a minute and a half later. Pat Kavanagh then assisted on goals by Jeff Ricciardelli and Eric Dobson. Cornell answered back with a Willem Firth goal with 4:43 left in the first quarter. Then Notre Dame scored three straight goals by Reilly Gray, Nick Harris and Dobson getting his second goal of the first quarter. Chris Kavanagh, Pat’s younger brother assisted on Gray’s goal.

Cornell’s Kirst scored his second goal of the first quarter unassisted with 41 seconds to stop ND’s run. ND took a 6-3 lead into the 2nd quarter and I knew we were in for a shootout. ND opened the 2nd quarter with an unassisted goal from Freshman Jordan Faison. Cornell then scored twice on goals by Michael Long and Kirst. Both teams traded goals twice before ND ended the half with two goals in a row. ND led 11-7 at halftime. Kirst had 3 goals at halftime while ND’s Gray had a pair at the half. Kirst got his 4th goal 38 seconds into the 2nd half followed by a Spencer Wirtheim goal. ND’s Ricciardelli got his 2nd goal of the game unassisted halfway through the 3rd quarter.

ND’s Ramsey (#24) celebrates

Cornell took over from there scoring four straight. Wantagh senior Hugh Kelleher scored the first followed by Kirst’s 5th goal of the game. Then Goldstein scored a pair. His 2nd and 3rd goals of the game. Notre Dame stopped the bleeding with a pair of goals by Jake Taylor and Pat Kavanagh. Pat’s 2nd goal of the game with 21 seconds left in the 3rd quarter put ND up 14-13 after 3 quarters. Kelleher got his 2nd goal followed by ND’s Dobson getting his 3rd goal. Cornell’s Firth and Long got their 2nd goals back to back and the score was 16-15 Cornell leading with 5:14 to play. Taylor got his 3rd goal of the game for ND to tie it up at 16. Kelleher got his 3rd goal of the 2nd half to put Cornell up 17-16. With 2:45 left Chris Kavanagh got his first goal of the game for ND to tie it up at 17. With 30 seconds left and the clock running down Pat Kavanagh threw a pass to Gray who dropped it. Chris Kavanagh jumped on the loose ball and quickly passed it to junior Ben Ramsey from Palo Alto, CA. The unlikely hero fired Chris Kavanagh’s pass home with 6.4 seconds on the clock and Notre Dame broke Cornell’s heart 18-17.

After the game I caught up with Notre Dame’s Coach Kevin Corrigan. I asked him “How does a game like this get you ready for the postseason?” He answered, “We were not great today. We’re not going to be happy with that when we look at the film, but we gutted one out, our kids were gritty, they stayed in the game, they kept making plays when they had to.” He added, “There’s a lot to learn from the film, if we don’t burn it first.” Nice to see he has a sense of humor. Corrigan has coached ND for 36 years and has the defending national champions ranked no.1 heading into May Madness.

Six days later I left rain and fog in Montauk for sunshine in Princeton, NJ on Saturday 4/20. The #17 ranked Tigers were hosting no.13 Penn Quakers. The game started off slow with no goals in the first 10 minutes. With 4:59 to go in the first quarter freshman Colin Burns scored off a pass from Coulter Mackesy. 1:05 later another freshman Nate Kabiri put Princeton up 2-0 unassisted. Penn’s James Shipley and Griffin Scane scored a pair of unassisted goals until Princeton senior Tommy Barnds scored off a Kabiri assist with 1:22 to go in the first quarter. Princeton led 3-2 for almost 3 minutes of the second quarter until Penn knotted it up at 3-3 on an unassisted Tynan Walsh goal. 4 seconds later Andrew McMeekin scored after winning the face-off, racing down field and shooting it past Penn’s goalie. It was the first of five straight Princeton 2nd quarter goals. Chad Palumbo and Mackesy scored then McMeekin did it again 5 seconds after Mackesy’s goal. Two minutes later Sean Cameron scored for Princeton.

With 2:43 left in the first half Luke DiNola ended the five goal Princeton run to make it an 8-4 Princeton lead at half. Burns and Scane traded goals followed by John Dunphey and Davis Provost. Then Lukas Stanat and Scane traded goals for the third time in the third quarter. Princeton led 11-7 entering the final quarter. Mackesy opened up the fourth quarter with a goal off a Palumbo assist. Then Shipley, Provost and Stanat reeled off 3 straight unassisted goals for Penn to get it to 12-9. Stanat and Provost traded goals and with 4:16 to go it was 13-10. This is when Princeton’s goalie Michael Gianfocaro decided it was time to take over.

Princeton’s Gianforcaro (#27)

After receiving a pass from long stick midfielder Michael Bath, Gianforcaro started upfield with the ball on Senior Day in front of a packed house. He decided to take the ball all the way downfield. With 3:46 to go the senior lacrosse Captain turned his goalie stick over shooting backhanded into Penn’s goal. Gianforcaro scored on Penn’s Emmet Carroll who’s won the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week 3 times this season (2/26, 4/1, 4/15). Kabiri ended the scoring with his 2nd goal of the game. Princeton won 15-10 improving its record to 8-4. As we go to press Princeton is 3-2 in the Ivy League. They play 11-2 Yale (4-1 Ivy League). Yale is ranked #8 in the 4/22 USILA Coaches Poll. Princeton moved up to no.16 in the USILA Coaches Poll and no.13 in the Inside Lacrosse media poll. Yale is #9 in the IL media poll. May Madness is just getting started.