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Princeton beats Penn to repeat as Ivy League champions

At a certain point a youth movement simply becomes a movement.

And for the second year in a row, Princeton advances to the NCAA tournament as Ivy League champions.

The second-seeded Tigers dominated fourth-seeded Penn 18-11 in the conference championship game Sunday in Ithaca, N.Y., securing their spot in the 16-team bracket to be revealed later this evening on ESPNU.

The Quakers have some hope of making a big selection based on a win over Duke and five top-20 RPI wins overall, but Michigan’s ascension to its second straight Big Ten title as a fourth seed on Saturday night likely made the Ivy a one-bid competition.

Coulter Mackesy scored three goals and four assists for Princeton in Sunday’s final. The junior forward was the focal point of what coach Matt Madalon called the “Moneyball offense” in a halftime interview with ESPNU. The Tigers beat the Quakers with quick ball movement, both on the perimeter and inside out. Freshman forwards Nate Kabiri and Colin Burns tied Mackesy with four assists and three goals, respectively. Princeton also conceded eleven goals from its midfield.

Penn also had offensive success, shooting a respectable 35 percent and frequently attacking from the top of the box. Ben Smith (four goals) and Cam Rubin (three goals) were especially good going downhill.

It wasn’t enough to match the Tigers, who had the advantage on shots (57-31), ground balls (41-28), faceoffs (18-15) and turnovers (12-6). Quakers goalie Emmet Carroll made 20 saves in the loss.

Princeton led from start to finish. Every time Penn got within striking distance, the Tigers countered. They scored twice in the final 13 seconds of the third quarter, opening a four-goal lead. Mackesy dodged the right alley, danced in and made a low-angle shot into the near pipe with two seconds left in the quarter to give Princeton a 15-11 lead.

The Tigers added three more goals while blanking Penn in the fourth quarter. A costly, non-bailable two-minute cross-check penalty on Griffin Scane effectively eliminated the chance of a Quaker comeback. It was Penn’s fourth penalty of the game. Princeton, which had a 2-for-4 man advantage, had no penalties.