While many people were partying in Miami (or the Jacksonville Landing) for Spring Break, the men’s lacrosse team instead remained in the northeastern part of the country to play three important games. Cornell faced two Ivy opponents, Yale and Penn, as well as New York State rival Stony Brook University.
Cornell (7-1, 2-0 Ivy) opened up Spring Break play excited to recover from its loss to No. 1 Virginia.
“After the Virginia loss we realized that we really needed to start competing harder,” said sophomore attackman Rob Pannell, noting that practices were geared to improving game play by having more players involved rather than just relying on a few specific people to carry the team.
The Saturday after classes let out, March 20, was the first Spring Break contest, as the Bulldogs (4-2, 0-2 Ivy) came to Schoellkopf Field undefeated. Though Yale outshot Cornell, the Red dominated in face-offs and in special teams, all while managing to stop 32 shots on goal. Cornell took an early 2-0 lead to which the Bulldogs responded immediately; however, midway through the second quarter, the Red was already up, 9-1 –– a lead the Bulldogs could not usurp. The game concluded with a final score of 18-7, the first Ivy win for Cornell this season. Senior attackman Ryan Hurley, sophomore attackman Scott Austin and sophomore midfielder Chris Langton each scored four goals during the game, while Pannell scored twice and tallied four assists.
Next, the Red hit the road to Long Island to take on the Stony Brook Seawolves (5-3) in the rain. Cornell took a 3-0 lead before Stony Brook not only got on the board to equalize the score, but also surpassed the Red, leading, 4-3, at the end of the first quarter. By halftime, however, the Red was able to tie the score at 5 after Langton scored a goal with just 5.5 seconds left to play. The game remained relatively close in the second half, but in the end it was Cornell that took the victory, 12-9. Hurley scored five goals during the game, two of which came during extra-man opportunities, while Pannell talllied one goal and six assists. The Red outshot the Seawolves, but only marginally, 32-31.
A few players from Cornell’s roster are native to Long Island and Pannell, whose hometown is approximately 15 minutes away from Stony Brook, expressed how great the support was during the game.
“It was awesome,” Pannell said. “It was unbelievable to play so close to home with such a strong fan base coming out.”
Friends and family were not the only fans in attendance.
“We also had a large home crowd because Cornell has such a great following,” he added, mentioning how students from the New York City area traveled the hour to watch him play.
The final game was at Penn (4-5, 0-2), and the Red continued its success en route to a final score of 12-6. This time it was sophomore attackman Scott Austin who led the Red in scoring, notching four of the 12 goals for the team. By the end of each of the first three quarters, Penn was trailing by three. By the end of the game, though, the Red was able to double its lead to twice Penn’s total points.
“The Penn win was important because we were able to finish the break 3-0,” Pannell said. “Everybody on the team was excited.”