Syracuse forces OT, takes lacrosse title
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Kenny Nims never realized how desperate things had become for Syracuse because he refused to consider the possibility that the defending NCAA lacrosse champions might actually lose.
"Never count us out," said Nims, who scored with 4.5 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime and help the Orange beat Cornell 10-9 for their second straight title and record 11th overall.
Most Division I Men's Lacrosse Titles
The Syracuse Orange became the first men's lacrosse team to win two consecutive national titles since Princeton won three in a row from 1996-98.
"This is our time of year, simply put," said Nims, who was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. "This is why we go to Syracuse. The tradition of our program is extremely rich. This is what we've been waiting for all year and this is our time."
Cody Jamieson scored the game-winner 80 seconds into overtime to give Syracuse a victory over its central New York rival. Jamieson, a transfer who didn't become eligible until April, has scored eight of his nine goals this season during the NCAA tournament.
"There were definitely some nights looking at your ceiling wondering if it was going to happen," said Jamieson, who was allowed to practice but not play in the first 12 games because of problems with his community college transcript. "So I leaned on my friends and family and hoped. I practiced every day with the team and I still felt like I was part of the team."
It was the ninth time the championship game has gone into overtime, and the first since Princeton beat Syracuse 10-9 in 2001. Syracuse, which never led before the final score, is the first team to win consecutive men's lacrosse titles since Princeton in 1997-98.
"It wasn't easy," Syracuse coach Jon Desko said. "I feel like we played for about three minutes at the end. And I still have to go back and watch the film to see what happened."
John Glynn scored three goals with two assists -- all in the first half -- to help Cornell open a three-goal lead before Syracuse began to cut into the deficit. Stephen Keough scored with 3:37 left, then Jamieson cut it to 9-8 less than a minute later.
In the final seconds of regulation, Keough scrambled for a loose ball and flipped it over his head to Matt Abbott, who brought it into the attacking zone and found Nims all alone in front.
"I knew he saw me," Nims said. "I just did the easy part."
For Cornell midfielder Max Seibald, it was a reminder of the 2007 NCAA semifinal game in which the Big Red lost to Duke with 3 seconds left.
"Four seconds away," he said, choking back tears. "There's a lot of emotion in that locker room right now. I wouldn't trade this group of guys for a national championship. The experience I've had with these guys the last four years and this last year, I wouldn't trade it for a ring."
Jamieson's goal with 2:40 left in the 4-minute, sudden death overtime spawned an orange wave of celebration that left a wake of discarded helmets down the center of the field.
"They showed a lot of poise at the end of the game," Cornell coach Jeff Tambroni said. "They certainly played like they've been here before."
Jake Myers had 10 saves for Cornell, and John Galloway stopped 10 shots for Syracuse, which vacated its 1990 title and officially has 10 titles -- still one more than Johns Hopkins.
"They deserved it," said Glynn, who admitted that Cornell got conservative after taking a three-goal lead. "We kind of maintained that game. Too much holding back with the ball -- it kind of bit us in the butt."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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