Upon looking at the men’s lacrosse roster, one thing immediately comes to mind.
Of the 37 members on the team, 22 are underclassmen. Only four seniors grace the list. Having graduated a quartet of key players, the Red must now rely more on its youth for success.
The class of 2004, with participants spanning all positions, will be expected to contribute to the program. New head coach Jeff Tambroni was able to retain all recruits despite the resignation of former coach Dave Peitramala over the summer.
Tambroni seems to have the keys to success. And with the blue-collared work ethic that he championed under Peitramala’s tenure, he hopes to enhance Cornell’s already elite prominence in the NCAA.
“It’s my goal to get a little bit out of each and every one of us on the field. [We] can set a whole new standard for our team,” he said.
Tambroni and first-year assistant Bobby Wynn’s foremost goal is to replace the gap Sean Steinwald ’00 left when he graduated last spring. Steinwald accounted for over one-fourth of the team’s total goals with 44.
Senior Andrew Schardt and junior Scott Lee have all but solidified starting positions for the season. Schardt followed Steinwald in scoring last year with 25 goals and 14 assists, and he assumes a more heightened role this season. Lee, on the other hand, is a first-time starter.
“I hope that it will be by committee that we replace [Steinwald],” Tambroni said. “Guys like Scott Lee and Drew Schardt are certainly capable of picking up where he left off — not necessarily either one or the other — I’m hoping that both of them will pick up their games and give us more production.”
Fighting for the third attack position are junior Colin Crawford, freshman Ben Spoonhower and sophomore Michael Egan.
“You look at our scoring over the past three years and its been our attack. I think that it’s clear that we are going to look [to the midfielders] to do a little more of the scoring,” Tambroni explained. “We have the ability, with four or five guys there, to increase the production.”
And that is exactly what happened in the Red’s opening game against Fairfield last Saturday. Senior tri-captain David Key, sophomore Galen Beers, and freshman Andrew Collins combined to score five goals in the 10-9 winning effort.
Key must compensate for the loss in leadership left by Chris Packard ’00, something that Tambroni is confident of. Junior Billy Fort also adds his ability to initiate plays.
The defensive end is the anchor of the lacrosse team. Having lost no players last year, the backfield is headlined by two senior co-captains — Bobby Werhane and Brandon Hall. Both are comfortable in the starting position, having started all games last year.
Joining them is sophomore Ryan McClay, who was the most heavily awarded team member last year, being chosen to second-team All-Ivy and honorable mention All-American lists. Also including junior Josh Heller, Tambroni touted the group as the hardest working long-stickmen in the nation.
Behind them is second-team All-Ivy goalie, junior Justin Cynar. He has started in every Cornell lacrosse game since freshman year and last year allowed only 8.22 goals per game.