COLLEGE PARK - Princeton coach Bill Tierney is regarded as one of the brightest and innovative lacrosse coaches in the history of the sport, but even he could not come up with a scheme yesterday to negate the overwhelming edge Syracuse had in talent on the young Tigers in the NCAA championship game.
Tierney may have been able to keep the game closer if he had more than one day to prepare for one of the most explosive NCAA champions in recent years. But there didn't seem to be any way an emotionally spent Princeton squad was going to beat the Orangemen just 48 hours after upsetting powerful Virginia in the semifinals.
Tierney said after a thorough 13-7 spanking by the Orange at Byrd Stadium yesterday, "With not much time to prepare, we did things a little differently. In certain cases, it worked and in some cases you saw what looked like easy goals. That wasn't our kids' fault. We just didn't have the time to prepare for what a team like this does."
However, Tierney didn't believe all was lost in such a disappointing afternoon for his team.
"It was a challenge to meet Syracuse," Tierney said. "And I'm sure we learned a lot out there today. We feel like we've taken a giant step with a bunch of young puppies and we'll try to be back here next year."
One of those "young puppies" was freshman defenseman Damien Davis (Gilman), who experienced some major frustration yesterday against Syracuse's four-time All-American Ryan Powell, who finished with five points.
Just in time
RyanPowell nearly used up all of his allotted time while trying to tie his brother's school career scoring record.
The moment came with 18 seconds left, when Powell drew a double team behind the net, then fed Ethan Mills on the crease for the final goal of yesterday's win over Princeton, finishing a championship season in style.
Powell had missed a chance with 8:40 to go, when his point-blank shot glanced off the crossbar.
"Everybody on the team was trying to get me the ball," said Powell. "It was on the top of my mind early in the fourth quarter."
Powell added that tying his brother and not breaking the record was the ideal scenario.
Maryland junior goalkeeper Pat McGinnis did not even receive honorable mention status on the 2000 United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association /STX All-American team that was announced yesterday.
McGinnis made 27 saves in an 11-6 loss to Virginia on March 31, a one-game performance that was the second best in the nation this season. Only two Terps made the USILA team, with defenseman Casey Connor gaining second-team honors and midfielder Chris Malone being a third-team choice.
Illegal stick costly
Princeton was already in trouble at the end of the first quarter when a routine stick check by the officials resulted in freshman attackman Sean Hartofilis drawing a three-minute, non-releasable penalty for having an illegal stick.
Princeton was down, 4-0, after 15 minutes of play and the last thing the Tigers needed was to play a man down for three minutes. "I was totally surprised when they threw my stick out," said Hartofilis. "I'd been using it all year."