What once could have been looked at as a soft spot in the men’s lacrosse team’s increasingly difficult schedule has now become entangled in the tragedy that has gripped Dartmouth College this past week.
On Tuesday morning, hours after lacrosse practice had ended, Dartmouth freshman Matthew Demaine died in his sleep. The cause has been attributed to cardiac arrest.
Although its game last Tuesday with Sacred Heart was canceled, Dartmouth will host Cornell tomorrow, though it will undoubtedly do so with heavy hearts.
“It’s going to be an extremely emotional game for Dartmouth,” said Cornell head coach Jeff Tambroni.
Dartmouth head coach Rick Sowell put a different spin on how tomorrow’s game could play out.
“It is [going to be emotional],” he said, “but at the same time, [the game] could be the best thing for our guys. They’re excited to get out and play.”
Members of both teams are well aware that the loss of Demaine will act as a catalyst for the Green on the field.
“They’ll play more inspired,” Sowell said about his players.
“Their hearts are going to be in the game,” agreed Cornell junior Frank Sands. “They’re going to come out flying.”
Earlier this week, the Red sent cards to the Dartmouth team, but all empathy Cornell feels for its opponent will have to be checked at the entrance to the lacrosse field.
With a formidable matchup against conference leader Princeton coming up next weekend, the Red needs a victory tomorrow to keep alive its Ivy League title hopes.
“We’ll be extremely sympathetic for them,” Tambroni explained, “but we’ll go there with a task at hand. When the whistle blows, everything’s going to be put aside.”
“It’s an Ivy League game, so it’s very important for us,” sophomore attackman Michael Egan added.
Cornell (5-3, 3-0 Ivy) heads to the Granite State with its ego slightly bruised after a 14-10 loss at Syracuse on Tuesday night. Coming after 16-3 whipping of Harvard last weekend, the defeat at the Carrier Dome clogged up the momentum the Red had been building up since Spring Break.
“We definitely thought we should have been able to win that one,” Egan said.
But Tambroni was sure to pick out the positives from Tuesday’s affair.
“It showed our guys that we can play with the top teams in the country,” he said. “It brings an added entity of confidence to our team.”
Cornell had seemed to be brimming with confidence, especially on the offensive front, which has flourished thanks to scoring from a plethora of sources. Along with Egan, the attack sports senior tri-captain David Key, classmate Drew Schardt and junior Galen Beers.
But in Dartmouth tomorrow, that Cornell attack will face-off against one of the stingiest defenses in the Ivies. The Green backfield is surrendering just a little more than seven goals a game.
“Their defense is solid,” Tambroni said. “That’s the heart and soul of their team.
“I would anticipate a low-scoring game,” he added.
As he has in the past, Tambroni has been preaching a full-game effort for tomorrow.
“If we don’t sustain the 60 minute effort, we’re going to put ourselves in a little bit of a bind.”
Cornell is currently in the middle of a stretch of five games in just 14 days.
“It’s certainly a long stretch,” Egan said. “It’s a lot of wear and tear on the players.”
At the end of the line is next weekend’s a home contest against Princeton next weekend and an opportunity to knock the Tigers off the Ivy throne that they’ve owned for years.
But no one on the Cornell side has set their sights that far yet. Everyone, instead, is sticking to tried and true philosophy of one game at a time.
Sands summed up, “Right now we’re thinking about Dartmouth. [Princeton] comes into play next week.”
Archived article by Shiva Nagaraj