While most students on campus are looking forward to the arrival of Snoop Dogg and The Game this afternoon, the men’s lacrosse team has its eyes set on its regional rivals coming to town, as the No. 3 Red (9-2, 6-0 Ivy) hosts Hobart (7-6, 2-4) tonight at 7 p.m. in the team’s regular season finale.
The Red enters its 127th encounter with the Statesmen — the oldest rivalry in college lacrosse — on a tear, after clinching the Ivy League title outright last weekend and winning its last seven games. Although Cornell has also already earned an automatic berth into the national tournament, head coach Jeff Tambroni, a Hobart alum, said that the two teams’ historical rivalry and his players self-imposed high standards will make tonight’s game an extremely competitive contest.
“I think this team has set a standard for themselves both in practice and in games to be the very best we can be every day we step onto the field,” Tambroni said. “I think it’s a true testament to the senior class and it’s certainly a credit to how they’ve prepared and approached every day since they walked onto this campus.”
It is this senior class that will be playing a regular season game on Schoellkopf Field for the last time. While the soon-to-be graduates have several standout players — including Sean Greenhalgh, Justin Redd, and Kyle Georgalas — Tambroni said that it is some of the other seniors not necessarily in the spotlight, such as Dan Leary, Ian Rosenberger and Michael Rodgers, who have been vital in leading the team.
“I think that their contributions to Cornell lacrosse go beyond any statistical analysis or data that you can put in the paper or attempt to articulate,” Tambroni said. “One of the goals of every senior class is to leave Cornell better than when they found it and this year’s senior class has done so tenfold.”
Although Hobart will probably not be selected to play in the national tournament, it is not a team to be taken lightly.
The Statesmen lost by two goals or less in earlier games to top teams, including Georgetown, Syracuse and Massachusetts, and are led by freshman attack Daryl Veltman, who has tallied 27 goals and recorded 21 assists during this season.
“They’re one or two goals shy of being a playoff team and a top-10 team, and I think we understand that,” Tambroni said.
In preparing for the national tournament, Tambroni said that he doesn’t think that his team is peaking too early considering the solid games and practices the Red has had over the past few weeks. And in terms of having a preference over who Cornell faces in the tournament’s first round, Tambroni noted that the depth of lacrosse on a national level will make any opponent a challenge.
“I think everybody is capable of beating everybody else at this point,” Tambroni said. “I don’t think there’s a team out there that I could actually say, ‘we really want to face them,’ because they all have something on their team that makes us nervous. ”
Archived article by Brian Tsao
Sun Assistant Sports Editor