In a game characterized by its high-paced style, Saturday’s men’s lacrosse contest between Cornell (6-3, 4-0 Ivy) and Dartmouth (3-5, 0-2) had a pervasive feeling of mourning. It was the first game for the Green after the tragic death of Matthew Demaine, a freshman from Northfield, Mass., who passed away last Tuesday morning.
The Dartmouth team wore Demaine’s number on its jerseys and there was a moment of silence in remembrance for him.
But although all sympathies went to Demaine’s family, friends and the Dartmouth community, the Red could not sacrifice a loss in a conference game. It’s 10-5 win kept it perfect in the Ivy League along with Princeton.
The game was opposite from the Red’s previous Ivy League contests, during which Cornell would often beget a large lead that it would try to maintain through play. In Hanover, N.H., though, the Red stayed equal with the Green throughout the first half and increased the scoring differential in the next half. Over two-thirds of Cornell’s goals came in the second half, when it outscored Dartmouth 7-2.
The first half was full of emotion on Dartmouth’s side, as the teams fought each other tooth-and-nail. Neither team accumulating more than a one-goal lead.
“Their guys came out with a lot of intensity and emotion,” head coach Jeff Tambroni said, adding, “We knew that they would.”
It was an emotional state that the Red could not match after a disappointing loss to Syracuse last Tuesday and a seven-hour ride to Hanover.
Sophomore J.P. Schalk was first to score, just over two minutes into the game on an assist from senior tri-captain David Key.
But Dartmouth struck back twice in the ensuing seven minutes as it played inspired lacrosse. Key notched his second point in the game before the close of the first stanza.
The first half ended in a tie as both defenses held the attacks to three goals.
“Our defense did a particularly good job on limiting the Dartmouth goals,” Tambroni said. “We felt like we had to clean up our play. We gave them too many opportunities.”
The transition game especially plagued Cornell during that time, as the team incurred broken clear attempts.
Resolved not to give up the outright Ivy League lead to Princeton, Cornell started a run immediately into the second half.
“We realized that it was certainly possible for them to beat us,” stated Tambroni.
Junior Galen Beers scored a goal at the 30 second mark in the third quarter. He has scored at least once in every game this season. It was Cornell’s first lead since the beginning 4:30 of the game.
Sophomore Michael Egan built on the tentative lead one minute later after receiving an assist from junior Billy Fort. Egan and Fort proved to be a powerful combo as the two amassed six points total.
But it was senior Drew Schardt whose three goals in the second half topped the total from the Dartmouth team in the same time span. He and Key each had a game high four points.
“It was nice to see us play the second half with a little more execution, a little more intensity and a little more emotion,” Tambroni commented on the atypical augmented scoring output in the final 30 minutes.
Junior netminder Justin Cynar continued to lower his goals against average (GAA) after the 16-10 loss to Syracuse with his 12-save performance. Mike Gault, the Green goalie, had eight saves on the day.
Junior Addisson Sollog, Cornell’s faceoff specialist, went into the game with a vengaence. His subpar game at Syracuse made him hungry.
“He played well,” Tambroni praised. “He came out with a chip on his shoulder after Syracuse, and did enough to help us control the tempo of the game.”
The game was not one of the Red’s best, but was an important development for a team that has relied upon first half scoring. The coach was also pleased with the team effort that went into the victory.
“It was a pretty good contribution from the vast majority,” he said.
Archived article by Christen Aragoni