The Cornell men’s lacrosse team suffered its fifth consecutive loss of the season after dropping its game against Yale this past weekend 17-8, heading into this week’s New York rival-matchup without a win.
In the 77th meeting between the two schools, Yale’s (3-3, 1-0 Ivy) offensive onslaught began in the early seconds of the game when junior midfielder Conor Mackie drove through Cornell’s (0-5, 0-1) defense to sneak in a long distance shot and quickly commandeer the lead. The early goal, however, did not give the Red a reason to panic.
“I’ve been playing goalie long enough to know that a sixty minute game is a long time and you can’t let an early goal affect your confidence,” said junior goalie Christian Knight. “That play gave them a lot of momentum though and they carried it throughout the quarter.”
Although Knight notched 13 saves on the day, marking his sixth consecutive game tallying double digit stats, his overall effort in goal was not enough to fend off Yale’s close-range and persistent attacks.
“We need to support Christian more,” said head coach Matt Kerwick. “He’s been very steady but we’re giving up too many looks on the inside that we can’t expect him to save. We need to do a better job controlling the tempo on the offensive end.”
While a lack of offensive tempo and inability to successfully scrounge for ground balls troubled the Red during several of its valuable possessions throughout the game, an experienced Bulldog roster took full advantage of the Red’s youthful inconsistency and scattered defensive play.
Scoring seven goals by way of seven different players, with ten total Yale players scoring throughout the entire game, Yale coasted into halftime with a 7-3 lead. Conversely, Cornell freshman attacker Jeff Teat — who was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week following his performance last Saturday against No. 13 Virginia — combined for five points between two goals and three assists in a noble attempt to advance the Red.
Midfielder Jordan Dowiak also notched two goals in Saturday’s outing while fellow sophomores Jake McCulloch and Clarke Petterson contributed one goal and one assist a piece. However, the Red was unable to overcome Yale’s strong defensive stands and challenge the offensive production displayed by several of the Bulldog’s talented attackmen such as junior Ben Reeves.
“Obviously Ben Reeves is always a challenging matchup, but I don’t think it was just one person that we had trouble with,” Knight said. “They ran a pretty good offense, with a lot of off ball movement. Most of their goals came from defensive breakdowns, and losing track of a guy off ball. We knew that goals off of ball movement were a big part of their game plan, but we struggled defending it.”
Yale finished the game with a 38-34 shot advantage and a 36-22 ground ball advantage, highlighting the team’s physicality.
“We need to be more physical on defense,” Kerwick said. “Yale came away with the tough ground balls so we need to be more determined there. We lacked a little confidence offensively early in the game and made some simple turnovers, which has been something we’ve struggled with in four of our five games, giving teams the ball early.”
Concerning Tuesday’s matchup against in-state rival Colgate, Kerwick is both mindful of the challenges the Raiders will bring to Ithaca as well as the necessary changes in play his players must make in order to acquire its first win of the season.
“They’re a good offensive team with a veteran goalie and an outstanding face-off guy,” Kerwick said. “It’s going to be, as it has been the last couple years, a 60-minute effort.”
With a 74 percent winning percentage historically when playing on Schoelkopf turf combined with the cold lessons learned from losses suffered so far this season, the Red hopes to start its three-game home stretch with a much needed win against Colgate on Tuesday at 5 p.m.