With the spring season just around the corner, the accolades have already begun to roll in for the men’s lacrosse team. After finishing the 2001 season with a record of 7-6 and one of the best defensive lines in the country, Cornell is looking for redemption.
Its quest will rest squarely on the shoulders of four players who will be the backbone of the Cornell team. Starting in net, senior Justin Cynar, junior defender Ryan McClay, long-stick midfielder Josh Heller and face-off specialist Addison Sollog were all named preseason All Americans by the 2002 edition of Face-Off Yearbook. Cynar and McClay were first team selections while Heller and Sollog received third team nods.
Cynar, who has been a dominating force from between the pipes for the Red, recorded a 6.14 save percentage and a 7.38 goals against average last season. His statistics ranked him fifth in the nation last season for goals against average and ninth for his save percentage. A fantastic goalkeeper, with a good eye, he has already been named to the prestigious All-American team twice and is a possible candidate for Goalie of the Year.
McClay, also a two-time All-American pick, is the team’s strongest defender. He grabbed 54 ground balls last season and is one of this year’s tri-captains. Add to those accolades a selection to the USA World Team, and you have one of the best all-around defenders in the country. McClay has the potential to be named Defenseman of the Year.
Of the preseason selection McClay said, “I’m pretty honored, because not everyone gets named that, but at the same time you feel pressure. [Pressure] because being named to the preseason team, you feel that you have to live up to that.”
McClay later added about his membership on the World Team, “With what is going on in the world now, to wear a USA jersey is pretty special. There were 130 guys at the tryout, so there was the best competition in the states there. So to be picked for that team is wonderful.”
Cynar and McClay were the only two members of the Ivy League to be honored as first-team All-American selections.
Heller, a three-year starter at long stick midfield, is a tough player who leads by example. Junior midfielder Brian Brady said, “Josh is extremely physical, definitely one of the toughest kids I know. He is one of the hardest working guys on the team and definitely one of the most athletic and overall aggressive players that I have ever played against. He is a dominant force all over the field, always coming up with big hits and pushing transition whenever he gets the ball. He is certainly one of the most talented long stick middies in the country.”
After posting a .607 face-off winning percentage last season and winning 156 of 257 attempts, Sollog is the fourth preseason All-American on the team. With his impressive face-off skills, he finished ranked 11th in the country. Sollog will be a key component of the Red’s offense.
With a preseason ranking of 15, the Red will be looking to come out strong this spring. The combination of these talented players as well as a deep roster will have Cornell looking to battle it out come tournament time in May.
Archived article by Kristen Haunss