December 30, 2009

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This article appears in the December issue of Lacrosse Magazine. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 300,000-plus members today to start your subscription.

Best of 2009
Male Player | Female Player | Male Performance | Female Performance | Male Coach | Female Coach| Game | Comeback | Breakthrough | Look | Mainstream Moment | Fan


'09 Rewind: The Foxboro Flip and Mustang Madness

COMEBACK OF THE YEAR

For the first 56 minutes of the NCAA Division I championship game, Cornell had Syracuse befuddled and frustrated, using a quick-sliding defense and a deliberate offense to suck the Orange into a 9-6 hole.

The 20-year reign of orange or blue on the championship trophy appeared over.

But with Syracuse, nothing is as it appears.

Dan Hardy fed Stephen Keogh for a goal with 3:37 remaining, and the Orange struck with a goal off a scrum 51 seconds later when Cody Jamieson converted a Josh Amidon scoop.

The Orange excel in unsettled situations, and proved that emphatically in a wild 24-second sequence at the end of regulation. Kenny Nims, handcuffed all day by defenseman Matt Moyer, stripped him with a trail check during Cornell’s final clear attempt with about 20 seconds left. Out of a collision and scrum near midfield, Keogh gathers the ball just long enough to heave a pass downfield to a streaking Matt Abbott. Just before getting mauled, Abbott finds Nims, who avoids the crease and beats Jake Myers low to unbelievably tie the game at 9 with 4.5 seconds to play. The Foxboro Flip.

In overtime, Sid Smith stripped Ryan Hurley, and Jamieson ultimately converted to deliver Syracuse’s 11th national championship.

HONORABLE MENTION

Army Men
The Black Knights trailed Lafayette 10-5 with 13:44 to play on April 14 in West Point, N.Y., but two goals apiece by Brook Korvin and Jason Peyser fueled an unlikely 7-0 run and eventual 13-12 win.

U.S. Women
The Americans trailed defending champion Australia 5-0 early and 9-4 at halftime of their round-robin matchup, but three goals from Sarah Albrecht and two each from Katie Rowan and Acacia Walker fueled a stirring comeback for a 10-9 win.


BREAKTHROUGH OF THE YEAR

“We knew lacrosse was a sport that could position us for prominence,” Stevenson president Kevin Manning said during the Mustangs’ 11-9 win over two-time defending champion Salisbury in the NCAA quarterfinals.

He may have been right all along, but few would have thought it possible prior to the 2005 season — Paul Cantabene’s first as head coach. But the career Division I assistant built up the program that broke through in 2009, a far cry from the 17-player roster with which he began his tenure.

The Mustangs set a program record for wins in a 17-2 season that also saw them achieve the school’s first No. 1 ranking in any sport. The squad ended its season in the semifinals, marking the furthest advancement in an NCAA tournament for any team in school history.

Six Mustangs earned All-America honors, including first-teamers Steve Kazimer (Attackman of the Year) and Jimmy Dailey.

HONORABLE MENTION

Karri Ellen Johnson, Maryland
The ACC Rookie of the Year and IWLCA/USL Regional All-American exploded for 74 goals, third-highest single-season total in Maryland history.

Rob Pannell, Cornell
The freshman made quite an impact, earning third-team All-America honors and leading the national finalist Big Red with 67 points (25g, 42a).

Virginia Tech WDIA
Using eight former varsity players who were burnt out on NCAA Division I lacrosse, the Hokies played all of their games on the road and captured the WDIA title in Scottsdale, Ariz.


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