March 26, 2001

Men's Lacrosse Splits Two Games

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In a town known for its ubiquitous precipitation, it was a half-hour long dry spell that overshadowed the men’s lacrosse team’s contest with unranked Penn State March 17, on East Hill.

The Red couldn’t muster a single goal in the second half and fell 8-7, after holding a 7-4 advantage at halftime.

Junior Galen Beers continued to shine on the offensive end, collecting four of Cornell’s tallies. The visitors drew first blood as Will Driscoll beat junior netminder Justin Cynar just over ten seconds into the match. The Red came out somewhat lethargic and Driscoll would find the back of the net again to expand the Nittany Lion lead.

The laxers awoke from their slumber during the final five minutes of the opening quarter. With Penn State’s Mike Herscha serving a one minute sentence for unnecessary roughness, Beers scored his eighth goal of the season.

The challengers did prove to be the more undisciplined squad, accruing eight penalties to the homeside’s two.

Penn State was down a man when the Red struck next as senior David Key evened the game. His goal was followed less than a minute later by another Beers strike to give Cornell its first lead of the afternoon.

A high-octane second quarter increased Cornell’s lead going into the intermission.

By the numbers, it seemed that the Red should have gone on to win comfortably. The hosts earned a 45-32 advantage on ground balls, took seven more shots and won 10 of 18 faceoffs.

The Lions returned from the locker room ready for battle and methodically ate away at the deficit. Eric Wood connected with Rob Booth just two minutes in to close the gap to two. After the squads traded penalties, Herscha shaded the deficit to one on an unassisted marker.

Cornell had chances but any hope of offensive production was stymied by the strong netminding of Penn State’s Matt Vallone. The senior stalwart finished with 19 saves on the day. Vallone’s counterpart, junior Justin Cynar, collected 17 saves on the day.

The Red’s offensive troubles seemed distant in the second quarter though. After Beers gave Cornell its first lead, the team rattled off three more unanswered scores. Junior Billy Fort recorded his third goal of the season to give the team a 5-2 lead. Cornell benefited from the magnanimous play of junior Scott Lee, who tallied two helpers in a five minute span, connecting first with senior Drew Schardt and then with Beers.

But it would be the Nittany Lions’ offensive machine that made the difference in the end. Just over six minutes into the final stanza, Luke Oglesby found Mike Kern to even the contest at seven.

Moments latter, Vallone was tagged for slashing and senior Sean Huss served the one minute penalty. Huss didn’t like what he saw on the scoreboard from the sideline and returned determined to put the visitors on top. Three minutes later he seized the opportunity when he put one past Cynar, shooting through a screen. It proved to be the knock-out punch as neither side would score again in the closing minutes of the game.

The Red traveled to Yale Saturday having lost its last two games, but managed to regroup against the Elis, winning 13-11. With this most recent win, Cornell has now defeated the New Haven school 36 times. The Red has only collected more wins against Hobart, Pennsylvania and Harvard.

The laxers opened the game with an explosive first quarter with a dynamic start that has become a trademark of this team. Cornell found the back of the net eight times in the first quarter. The onslaught forced Yale to pull netminder Eric Wenzel midway through the second stanza in favor of Adam Oppenheimer.

Coming off a scoreless second half against Penn State, Key wasted little time putting Cornell back on the scoresheet. Sophomore Michael Egan, who would himself notch four goals on the day, connected with the senior co-captain just under two minutes into the game. Moments later, Key returned the favor finding Egan whose shot beat Wenzel.

The game was a veritable sophomore party. Egan’s four goals were his first of the season, and classmate J.P. Schalk claimed his first two tallies on the year.

The hosts could only manage one goal in the first period of play, with that tally coming off the stick of Blake Beechler. The score followed Key’s second goal of the game. But from that point on the Cornell offensive machine began firing on all cylinders.

In what has become a theme of the season, the scoring came from a wide assortment of contributors. The team has had to distribute the scoring, and as the contest with Yale showed, Cornell enjoys success when it successfully does so. Six different laxers were credited with the Red’s next seven goals.

However, it was the standout play of Egan and Key that put the Red ahead and preserved the lead when the Bulldogs mounted their furious comeback. The senior beat Oppenheimer four minutes into the final quarter to put Cornell ahead 11-8, after Yale netted seven unanswered goals to close to within two. The Bulldogs would never get any closer due to the stingy defense of the visitors.

Cynar made 12 saves in goal for the Red while the tandem of Wenzl and Oppenheimer combined for a nine save effort.

It was a disappointing second half for the victors, though, who have now had two consecutive letdowns after holding a lead at halftime.

Cornell was uncharacteristically outclassed at the face off circle. Yale won 16 of the day’s 27 opportunities. The Bulldogs also increased their hustle enough following the first quarter to close the gap and pick up 34 ground balls to the Red’s 37.

Archived article by Gary Schueller