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Princeton vs. Cornell, Big City Classic
What's at stake Both teams have qualified for the Ivy League tournament next weekend. This might be Round 1 of a season series. The Tigers (8-4) would benefit more with a win, given their subpar at-large resume and low RPI (No. 18). Cornell (11-2) is a few goals away from being undefeated. On paper, this is a high-scoring game.
Who to watch Princeton midfielder Tom Schreiber and Cornell attackman Rob Pannell are the best players at their position in the nation. They are future Major League Lacrosse All-Stars and Team USA participants. Pannell deferred too often in the Big Red's loss to Syracuse on April 10. The Tigers don't have a defender who can mark him. Schreiber is one of the best midfielders I've seen in two decades.
"The most interesting storyline of this game is how Princeton head coach Chris Bates and defensive coordinator Greg Raymond decide to guard Pannell with a young defense and goalie," ESPN announcer Eamon McAnaney said. "Pannell has seen everything at Ithaca, but how much of a 'gimmick' defense can you come up with for a group that has doesn't have a ton of game experience?"
What will make the difference Cornell faceoff man Doug Tesoriero (pictured) and whichever goalie decides to get hot. "Faceoffs are always critical, but definitely in this one for Princeton," McAnaney said. "The Tigers will be able to score, but how quickly they try to attack the Big Red 'D' will be a factor. Princeton can score 16 and lose or maybe slow down a hair and score 12 and win. They need to win faceoffs to execute either game plan."
April 10, 2013