Leads this season have been fragile for the men’s lacrosse team. Against both Fairfield and Yale, Cornell witnessed sizable advantages rapidly trimmed to slight advantages in the final moments. But in both instances, the Red had padded its cushions just enough to squeak away with victories.
But late in the fourth quarter this Saturday afternoon in New Canaan, Conn., after No. 19 Penn had stormed back from its third three-goal deficit of the game, Cornell wasn’t looking so lucky. This time, the 17th-ranked Red could not afford to just watch time tick by, waiting for the game to end. It instead had to take fate into its own hands in order to notch a win.
And that’s just what senior tri-captain David Key did 1:07 into overtime with the game tied 9-9. He slipped a shot past Quaker’s goalie Ryan Kelly to seal the second straight Ivy League win of the season for Cornell (4-2, 2-0 Ivy).
“It was a good win,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “The way the game ended, it was an opportunity to find out the character of the team.
Key’s goal came on the Red’s only offensive possession of extra time. Following a save from junior netminder Justin Cynar, sophomore defenseman Ryan McClay began the play with an outlet pass to classmate Frank Sands, who then found Key for the score.
“It was as quick as it could be,” Tambroni said about the play.
As it has throughout the season, the Red shot out of the gates with a bang, scoring the first three goals of the game. At 4:19 of the third, junior Galen Beers tallied his 13th goal of the season, within the next five minutes sophomore Michael Egan added his name to the score sheet twice to give the Red an early 3-0 lead.
Egan has opened the Ivy season with a scoring binge. His pair yesterday came after a quartet of goals against Yale last weekend.
After Penn claimed its first goal of the game, Key pushed Cornell’s lead back to three near the end of the first on an assist from freshman Andrew Collins. But the Quakers refused to stay dormant, scoring the next three goals to level the game at 4-4 by halftime.
In the second half, the Red grabbed control of game once again, on the strength of senior leadership.
“What was nice to see was we came out in the third quarter and got things going,” Tambroni said. “Drew Schardt and David Key allowed us to get going in the second half.”
Two goals by Key to start the third gave Cornell an 8-5 lead. But Penn drew within one after Kevin Cadin scored two for the Quakers. The next face-off, however, Schardt reasserted Cornell’s two-goal lead at 11:52.
“I give Penn a lot of credit,” Tambroni said. “Every time we got up, they had an answer.
“But every time they had an answer,” he continued, “the Big Red came back.”
With 29.8 seconds left, it was Penn which would have the last laugh of regulation, tying the game 9-9 when Cynar made a diving save but allowed Cadin to slam home a rebound thereafter.
However, Tambroni had nothing but praise to heap on Cynar.
“Justin played wonderful,” he exclaimed. “As the game went on, Justin continued to get stronger. When the game is on the line, that’s when he thrives.”
Now, Cornell’s schedule becomes hectic (and much more difficult) as it plays a string of five games in a span of two weeks. Next weekend it hosts Harvard, before visiting the Carrier Dome to lock horns with Syracuse the following Tuesday.
“We’re going to need to be prepared,” Tambroni said about the upcoming slate. “But it’s nice to have a couple of wins under our belt.”
Archived article by Sumeet Sarin