March 12, 2001

After Surrending an Early lead, Men's Comeback Effort Falls Short

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Despite jumping out to an early 2-0 advantage at No. 11 UMBC, the men’s lacrosse team (2-1, 0-0 Ivy) fell by a 6-5 count as its offensive potency lagged behind its defensive tenacity.

Cornell once again roared out of the gates, posting a pair of scores in the opening stanza. Junior Scott Lee put the Red on the board courtesy of classmates Billy Fort. Cornell has reigned supreme in first quarters this year, producing seven times the scoring of challengers. Before the first fifteen minutes had expired, junior Galen Beers expanded the Cornell advantage with an unassisted marker.

“Galen and Billy Fort were two of the bright spots in the offense in Saturday’s game,” head coach Jeff Tambroni remarked.

The match seesawed and remained tenuous until the Retrievers’ Charlie Gibson knotted the game late in the third quarter. It was the first in a string of four unanswered goals for the hosts.

Pat Muston found the back of the net twice in a one minute span before Charlie Gibson connected with John Haracym. The final goal in the span was scored with Cornell down a man as Josh Heller was penalized for slashing.

Despite troubles on the offensive end, the Red put forth a gritty effort on the other side of the ball.

“Overall, I wasn’t disappointed in the effort. With this group, that’s one thing you never have to question,” Tambroni lauded.

Cornell picked up 10 more ground balls and on the strength of another convincing effort from Addison Sollogg owned a 10-5 advantage from the face-off circle.

“He was extremely focused and it came as no surprise that he played very well,” the coach noted of Sollogg.

Tambroni added that the face-off specialist’s work was made easier by the work of wingers Josh Heller and Frank Sands whom he called the midfield’s “unsung heroes.”

What ultimately thwarted the Red was inability to capitalize on the Retrievers’ errors. Cornell was 0-7 on the man-up. The home-side, on the other hand, was able to exploit Cornell’s mistakes, putting forth a 2-10 effort with the extra man.

Tambroni saw other problems with the teams exception.

“Offensively we threw the ball away too much. We didn’t capitalize on our chanced, particularly up close,” he mentioned.

“We seemed to create a lot of opportunities, it was our execution that was struggling,” Beers noted.

The Red clung to a 2-1 advantage but was unable to connect to expand the lead. Adam Shirley tallied his third goal of the season for UMBC before leading scorer Josh Hahn tied the contest.

Both men between the pipes played solidly. Cornell’s Justin Cynar stopped 12 shots, equaling the performance of his counterpart Steve Cusa.

Tambroni was pleased with his netminder’s effort.

“Justin took a step in the right direction. He looks like he is regaining his confidence,” the man patrolling the sidelines said.

Trailing 6-3 toward the end of the third period, the Red attempted to mount a comeback. Fort beat Cusa for his second goal of the game. Lee found Beers with under five minutes on the clock to shade the lead to one.

Cornell had the man advantage on two occasions, including a period of a two-man advantage but was unable to muster another score. With under a minute to play, freshman Ben Spoonhower was tagged for illegal procedure.

“Its one of those days you want to forget, but if you do forget it, it will hurt you more,” Beers said.

The team has a week to prepare before it returns to the friendly confines of Schoellkopf Field to do battle with Penn State next Saturday at 1 p.m.

Archived article by Gary Schueller