East Coast winters can make it tough on a number of sports teams in the area. The Cornell men’s lacrosse team is no exception. Although temperatures are supposed to be quite high this weekend in Ithaca, there is no way to predict these odd changes in weather at the start of the season when teams create their schedules. The Red will take on Hobart this Saturday in West Palm Beach, Fla, marking the first time in the 137-year history of the Cornell-Hobart rivalry that the two teams will play outside of New York State.
“We had a couple of Hobart and Cornell supporters in that area that were trying to throw the game,” said head coach Matt Kerwick.
Kerwick and Hobart head coach Greg Raymond saw this game as an opportunity to spread the appreciation of lacrosse down south.
“As coaches we have an obligation to keep spreading this great game, so we both agree that it would be a great opportunity for our teams to ensure good weather and go to a place that is really growing, certainly at the youth level of lacrosse, in front of hopefully a bunch of alumni down in the sunshine state,” Kerwick explained.
The Red have won 11 straight games against the Herons, but this is no indication of how the Red will fare this weekend. The Cornell-Hobart rivalry is the oldest in collegiate lacrosse, so games between the two teams are always intense. Kerwick also coached at Hobart from 2002 to 2010 and is Kerwick’s alma mater (class of 1990), which makes the game all the more interesting.
“You can kind of throw the records out,” Kerwick said. “It’s going to be two teams — they’re going to go toe-to-toe and I know Hobart really circles this one on their calendar, and we have to prepare for their very best because they definitely take a lot of pride in this game, as do we.”
Both the Red (0-1) and Hobart (1-1) have had mediocre starts to the season and have each dropped matches to No. 12 Penn State.
The Red have a very young team, and seven of the 22 players who saw action in the 8-7 loss to Penn State last weekend were freshmen. Freshman attack Colton Rupp and freshman attack/midfielder Ryan Bray both started their first collegiate lacrosse games.
“It’s a very talented freshman class, so we’re just trying to piece it together and learn and grow as we go through each week of practice,” Kerwick said. “It’s going to be a maturation process throughout the course of this year.”
In terms of end-of-season goals, Kerwick emphasized the importance of maintaining Cornell’s dominance in the Ivy League. The Red have won won a share of 12 of the last 13 Ivy titles and 29 since 1956. At this point in the season, though, Yale, Brown and Harvard are all ranked higher than the Red.
Kerwick emphasized the importance of making his team stay within itself.
“It’s all about playing our best down the stretch and competing for an Ivy League championship and hopefully making a run at the NCAA tournament,” he said.
The game against Hobart this weekend carries a lot of history with it and surely will be interesting to watch. Play begins at 1:15 pm EST this Saturday.