After playing in three scrimmages at the Pumpkin Stickout in Syracuse, N.Y., this Saturday, the men’s lacrosse team will have four months to prepare for its official season opener against Binghamton. According to head coach Jeff Tambroni, the Red will need every minute of offseason available.
“I feel like we’ve been a team the last number of years that has prided itself on working very hard to do the little things to get success,” Tambroni said. “I think this team has gotten away from that this fall, maybe living in the past a little bit.”
The Red opened the Stickout with a win against Hobart Saturday morning before dropping scrimmages to LeMoyne and Syracuse. In the final game, the Orange scored five goals in the first period and held on for a 6-4 win.
[img_assist|nid=18943|title=Looking ahead|desc=Junior attacker Jonh Espey (9) and the men’s lacrosse team finished the fall season in Syracuse this weekend.|link=popup|align=left|width=100|height=68]
“They’re only fall scrimmages,” Tambroni said. “We’re really not overly concerned and we try to convey this to our guys … not to get overly concerned by the score of the two losses.”
This was the first chance to see the Red in action without the six members of the Class of 2006, including All-American midfielder Joe Boulukos ’06. Boulukos led a class that helped the Red to four consecutive Ivy League championships and posted a career record of 40-15 overall and 21-3 in the Ivy League.
The latest class lost to graduation went out in style, finishing the 2006 season with an 11-3 record, including a 5-1 Ivy League mark and a share of the conference title. Boulukos and company also led the Red to the NCAA tournament for a third consecutive year.
Cornell has reloaded its roster with 13 freshmen this year, and the Red will turn to senior co-captains Mitch Belisle and Matt McMonagle for leadership. However, Tambroni felt that the team’s progression during the fall season did follow the road map that had led to success in previous years, when making hustle plays in the moment was more important than resting on the laurels of past accomplishments.
“It was disappointing,” Tambroni said. “And certainly not a Cornell-symbolic showing.”
Tambroni did single out a quartet of rookies for their performance on Saturday.
“The freshmen played well. Andrew MacDonald, Michael Howe, Chris Ritchie and Ryan Hurley — those four freshmen, in limited opportunities, played very well,” Tambroni said. “They showed a spark.”
Despite the solid play of the newcomers, Tambroni cited lack of execution, lack of desire and weak leadership as concerns that need to be addressed in the months before the regular season kicks off.
“On Monday, we need to buckle down and get ourselves back on the ground,” he said.