The sun was shining on the men’s lacrosse team (2-0, 0-0 Ivy) yesterday, as it won, 18-7, against Patriot League foe Colgate (0-3). The game, initially scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, was delayed a day due to snow. But 24 hours after the original game time, the green turf in Schoellkopf showed no ill effects from the storm, and neither did the Red.
With contests against top-15 ranked programs around the corner, head coach Jeff Tambroni and his team wanted to get a convincing win to drive them into Saturday’s game versus No. 11 UMBC.
Their wish came true.
A mere 33 seconds into the game, senior tri-captain David Key sent the ball into the Colgate goalie Chris Hetter’s net, setting the tone for the remaining 59:27. The Red scored four times in less than four minutes with six different laxers contributing, while play never ventured into the Cornell side of the field.
Behind the face-off prowess of junior Addison Sollogg, who was later awarded a game ball, the Red pressed the Raiders defense continually for the first 15 minutes, increasing the point differential to 10-0, and forcing Hetter out of the game.
The offensive explosion in the first quarter was balanced by a defensive stand in the second. Colgate’s offense woke up 32 seconds into the stanza behind Nick Gerkin, who accounted for three of the seven Raider goals. But long-stickmen senior co-captains Bobby Werhane and Brandon Hall and sophomore Ryan McClay squelched any hope of a full comeback.
While it did hold the Raiders to just a pair of goals in the second, the Red’s performance in the period was almost a letdown relative to the first 15 minutes.
“Realistically speaking, we didn’t do that well in the second quarter. we were tied 2-2, after being up 10-0 in the first quarter,” Werhane maligned.
Although it never matched the effort in the first stanza, the Red kept up a consistent attack as Schardt and Junior Scott Lee scored four goals apiece and a combined for 12 points. Key, junior Galen Beers and sophomores Chris Morea and J.P. Schalk each contributed two scores.
“I think a lot of the pistons were firing today,” Schardt said. “Scott Lee capitalized on every shot [Colgate] gave him. J.P. Schalk, Galen Beers, Chris Morea, David Key — that’s a lot of people up on the scoreboard.”
Yet, the transition to a more balanced attack has not been battle-tested. Its success is yet to be seen against a top collegiate team.
“I still not so sure that erases anything,” Tambroni said when asked if the 18 goal performance proves the potency of the offense.
But more importantly, the team answered some of the questions raised about the highly touted defense, which let Fairfield back into last Saturday’s game after the Red had established a commanding 10-5 lead.
“It was important for our defense to come out and have a good showing as a team — not as individuals, but as a team,” Werhane said.
Tambroni echoed his sentiments: “I thought the defense did a good job.”
He praised junior Josh Heller’s ability to hold Colgate’s primary offensive threat, Parker Gibson, in check.
Junior goaltender Justin Cynar’s play was also reminiscent of last year All-American performance.
“He’s an outstanding goalie and it showed today. He didn’t let anything get by him,” Werhane said.
Cynar had nine saves on the game, as he let four balls go by in under 53 minutes of action. But according to the Cynar, it was the first few that cemented his strong performance.
“I have to make the first few saves to have a good day. It’s important to get those saves early on, even if we’re up by five goals.”
Special teams was a key in the game as Cornell went four for five on the man-up advantage, while Colgate was one for six.
Granted “[Colgate’s] no Syracuse,” as Werhane conceded, but the team has built a foundation for the 2001 campaign showing consistency on both ends of the field.
Archived article by Amanda Angel