This article appears in the 2007 edition of The Sun’s freshman issue.
It was a busy week for the men’s lacrosse team – it received the No. 4 team in the NCAA tournament, senior co-captain Matt McMonagle was named Ivy League Player of the Year and sophomore Max Seibald was one of five finalists for the Tewaaraton Trophy. But despite the flurry of news, Cornell stayed focused on its first-round game, topping Towson 14-6.
With the win, Cornell will face the winner of the tomorrow’s matchup between Loyola and Albany. Despite the Red’s No. 2 RPI, the team believes that its seed in the tournament is accurate.
“This whole week, we’ve been asked if we felt slighted or disrespected by the committee, and I think, if you really look at the numbers, and what they were given and the criteria they have, I think they made the right decision,” McMonagle said.
Senior David Mitchell led the way for against Towson with five goals and classmate Eric Pittard added two goals and two assists. With his five tallies, Mitchell became the 32nd player in school history to score 100 points. Seniors Brian Clayton and Casey Lewis each added a pair of goals apiece to pace the Red. On the other side, freshman Cryder DiPietro led the Tigers with two goals and senior Bobby Griebe added a goal and three assists.
[img_assist|nid=23435|title=Rocc’ it|desc=Sophomore Rocco Romero (37) scored a goal during the Red’s 14-6 victory over Towson in the first round of the NCAA tournament.|link=popup|align=right|width=100|height=58]
In goal, McMonagle stopped 19 Towson shots to help preserve the victory. Tigers junior Matt Antol made three saves, but was replaced at halftime after giving up eight goals. Classmate Billy Sadtler came in at the beginning of the third quarter, stopped six Cornell shots and let in six goals.
“[McMonagle] did a great job,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “You tend to take it for granted, maybe, because he’s been so good all year. … Fairly or unfairly, he’s kind of set the bar so high. We’re thankful that he allowed us to have such consistency on the defensive end.”
“I’m just glad I’m not facing him,” Mitchell said. “We face him all week long in practice, and he can be a frustrating player to play against. I’m just glad he’s on my side.”
Towson outshot Cornell by a 42-37 margin. The Red held a slight edge in ground balls, 32-29. Cornell was successful on 16-of-19 clears, while Towson was successful on 15-of-18. Both teams turned the ball over 21 times.
“I thought both teams’ defenses played better than both teams’ offenses did today,” Tambroni said. “I thought they created a lot of difficult situations and created a lot of pressure situations for both teams. You can attribute the sloppiness of today’s game, which I thought transpired through the entire 60 minutes, to the effort that both teams put in defensively.”
Towson did dominate Cornell in one area – extra-man goals. The Tigers scored five goals on the man advantage in seven opportunities. The Red only scored one goal on seven opportunities.
“We were 5-for-7 on man-up,” said Towson head coach Tony Seaman. “We had the worst man-up team in the country. I don’t know what that tells you.”
At the face off “X,” sophomore Tommy Schmicker won 8-16 face offs. Junior John Glynn won 1-7. Towson senior Matt Eckerl won 14-23.
Mitchell was a force in the first quarter, scoring three out of Cornell’s first four goals en route to a 5-0 first quarter lead. In the second, Towson cut the lead by scoring two straight in the first minute and a half. After Mitchell notched his fourth tally of the game, a DiPietro goal cut the lead to 6-3. This would be the closest that Towson would come though, as Cornell scored eight of the next nine goals to extend its lead to 14-4. After the Tigers scored two straight, the Red controlled the clock and were on its way to the second round.
“I thought we came out strong [in the third quarter], like we usually do,” Pittard said. “Coach talked to us at halftime, we made some adjustments and I think we started shooting the ball a little better and moving the ball a little better. We just capitalized on some assisted goals.”