A slow start and an opposing goalie who was on fire between the pipes spelled doom for the men’s lacrosse team yesterday afternoon, as No. 5/6 Cornell fell 13-8 to No. 7/8 North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The Red (1-1) was down 6-1 at the beginning of the second quarter, and although at times it came within two goals of the Tar Heels (3-0), it was never able to gain control of the game.
“North Carolina just came out strong [in the first quarter],” said junior defender Matt Moyer. “They have a really good team, you have to credit them. They played well and they played together.”
Senior attacker John Glynn led the Red in points, with two goals and two assists, while sophomore attacker Ryan Hurley and junior attacker Chris Finn each recorded two goals as well. Junior attacker Kyle Doctor was the last Cornell multi-point scorer, tallying one goal and one assist.
North Carolina was led by Bart Wagener, with two goals and two assists, and Michael Burns, with three goals.
The Tar Heels came out strong at the beginning of the first quarter, and was able to dominate offensively, due in large part to its 6-7 advantage in the faceoff circle. The Tar heels also outshot the Red 13-4 for the quarter, and had five different players score, for a 5-1 lead.
“We just weren’t playing together early in the game,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “We didn’t get faceoffs, we couldn’t clear the ball. We didn’t protect our goalie. I don’t know if it was any one thing. We just ended up digging ourselves a hole.”
Cornell finally got on the board following a North Carolina turnover that led to a Red fast break. The Red attack passed the ball upfield to Finn, who fired a low shot past the goalie to find Tar Heels net.[img_assist|nid=28469|title=Dueling duo|desc=Senior midfielder John Glynn goes head to head with a Harvard defender during a 15-6 victory April 7, 2007. Yesterday afternoon, the team lost, 13-8, to North Carolina, at Chapel Hill.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
A North Carolina goal to start the second quarter brought the total to 6-1. But the goals seemed to wake up Cornell, who finally started to find some rhythm offensively. They controlled 3-of-5 faceoffs and scored the next three goals, by Finn, junior midfielder Max Seibald and Hurley, respectively, while outshooting the Tar Heels 19-6.
The teams headed into the locker room at the half with North Carolina up, 7-4, after an extra-man scored goal by the Tar Heels as the quarter ended.
Glynn started the third quarter off with quick goal following the opening face-off. But the Red was unable to capitalize on this early momentum, and the Tar Heels scored back-to-back goals, putting Cornell back in a 9-5 hole.
“We made some runs back at [North Carolina],” Moyer said. “They did a good job of being able to handle our runs, and then answering them.”
A score by Hurley, waiting just outside of the crease, brought the Red to within three again, but again, North Carolina was able to answer back, scoring to make the game 10-6 at the end of the third quarter.
With less than eight minutes to go in the game, an outstanding effort from Glynn pushed the score to 12-7.
Cornell’s defense played well in the final minutes, but the offense was unable to capitalize on their few opportunities, and the game ended in the final losing tally of 13-8.
“We just couldn’t get it all together,” Tambroni said. Although the team, on more than one occasion, was able to bring the score to within two, they were never able to get closer. “We couldn’t get over the hump,” he said. “And it’s just mentally and physically exhausting to always be playing catch up. Carolina played very relaxed the entire game, because they never lost the lead.”
The Red held a significant shot advantage for the game, 51-34, but North Carolina goalie Grant Zimmerman’s 15 saves and overall play was too much for the Red.
Sophomore Jake Myers started in goal for the Red. He recorded six saves and allowed 12 goals before being replaced in the fourth quarter by freshman Mat Martinez. In his first ever college appearance, Martinez stopped one shot and allowed an extra man goal.
“It wasn’t Jake’s best outing of the year,” Tambroni said.
Both teams recorded similar numbers of turnovers, with North Carolina holding the slim advantage, with 10 to the Red’s 11, but they capitalized on three of its four extra-man opportunities, as compared to Cornell, which managed to score only once in eight opportunities.
“We had a couple of good chances,” Tambroni said. “But we made a lot of little mistakes. We need to understand a little better the essence of teamwork.”
Despite its slow start in the faceoff circle, Cornell finished with 13 out of 24 opportunities and also held a slim advantage in ground balls, 35-33.
“We played pretty well,” Moyer said. “It’s unfortunate we couldn’t put it all together.”