Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tempting Fate

Georgetown's Brendan Cannon had just ended Princeton's 2007 men's lacrosse season in excruciating fashion, taking advantage of an unsettled situation to go to the goal and beat the Tigers 31 seconds into overtime in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

About an hour later, TigerBlog sat down to write and came up with this:

"Maybe next time the NCAA offers Princeton Stadium the chance to host the NCAA men's lacrosse quarterfinals, the answer should be a polite 'no.'"

Well, the NCAA offered again, and again Princeton said yes. The 2010 men's lacrosse quarterfinals are coming back to Princeton Stadium, which is a great place for the event. With one problem.

This will be the fourth time that Princeton Stadium will be the host for the quarterfinals. The first three times (1999, 2005, 2007)? Princeton wasn't one of the four teams.

Contrast that with the fact that Princeton has been in the quarterfinals 16 times in the last 20 years, meaning that Princeton is 16 for 17 in years that it has not been the designated host site and 0 for 3 in years that it was.

Cannon and his teammates ended up getting wiped out by Johns Hopkins (the eventual champ) in the 2007 quarterfinals here, while Cornell and Albany played an epic game that ended with a Big Red win in overtime. That game is famous for two moments: Max Siebald's end-to-end run to strip the ball in the OT to start the winning play and Great Dane goalie Brett Queener's snapping of his stick over his leg at the end.

Georgetown lost in overtime here in 2005, falling to Maryland in another classic. The other game that year was Duke-Cornell, which the Blue Devils won fairly easily in a game in which every goal was scored at the same end of the field.

Back in 1999, it was Syracuse over then-No. 1 Loyola and Virginia big over a Delaware team that featured John Grant Jr.

So who will be here next May?

Well, let's start out with the idea that TigerBlog hopes that Princeton will be one of the four this time. Beyond that, this is the southern site, as Stony Brook is the quarterfinal host next year.

That opens the door for ACC teams like Duke or North Carolina or Virginia. Or maybe Hopkins will be here. Or Navy. Probably not Syracuse.

Or maybe it'll be a team that comes out of nowhere and makes its first serious run through the national ranking. Maybe it heads out on the road and scores a big upset in the NCAA's first round, or maybe gets to be the eighth seed and plays at home and can beat an evenly matched foe on its home turf.

Yeah, that's it. TigerBlog can see it now. Princeton vs. North Carolina in one game here next year. And the other?

How about Duke vs. ... Denver.

Let it happen.

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