The men’s lacrosse team (1-1, 0-0 Ivy), ranked 14th in the country, returns to Ithaca to open up its home slate of games tomorrow at 2 p.m. when it takes on University of Maryland, Baltimore County (1-1, 0-1 ECAC).
“I hope that what we bring to the field on Saturday is just excitement, ’cause it is our home opener,” head coach Jeff Tambroni remarked. “I think our guys are excited to get back on our own field, try to just rebuild what we tried to rebuild over the last couple of years.”
Although Cornell is happy to be back in the friendly confines of Schoellkopf Field, the team is wary of the Retrievers, a squad that defeated the Red 6-5 at UMBC Stadium last year.
“We have a great game coming up Saturday,” said junior defenseman Ryan McClay. “They beat us last year 6-5 in a game that we didn’t play up to what we thought was our potential.”
Cornell traditionally performs well at home, especially in openers. Last year it extended its winning streak in home openers to three with an 18-7 pounding of Colgate. The Red has also won eight of its last 10 contests in Ithaca.
“We usually play well, knock on wood, at home,” said Tambroni, as he rapped on his table. “For our guys to be able to go to classes and just relax on their own campus, it’s gonna be an advantage in comfort. I also think it’s going to be an advantage in excitement, just being able to walk on our own field, this field that we’re on every night for practice, to come out here and play in front of our own fans and family here in Cornell.”
While the Retrievers aren’t ranked as high as they have been in previous seasons, they still are a perennial threat to any team.
Extra-man situations will play a large role in tomorrow’s match, as UMBC killed all seven penalties it took in last year’s contest. However, Cornell has performed well with the man advantage this season, converting on three of its seven opportunities in its first two games.
“It’s a huge factor, in my opinion,” remarked Tambroni. “Certainly, that goose egg last year against UMBC didn’t go unnoticed. UMBC’s always done a pretty good job against us in the extra man, they stretch and they put a lot of pressure on us.”
The Red is coming off its first victory of the season, a 10-9 win at Colgate that nearly got away from Cornell at the end. Although the Red held a 9-5 lead in the final quarter, the Raiders nearly evened the score. A shot off the post late helped keep ‘Gate behind on the scoreboard. Freshman Sean Greenhalgh tallied five goals for Cornell.
Across the field, the Retrievers are also fresh off their first win of the year. Down 5-3 in the third quarter, UMBC staged a four-goal rally to take a 7-5 win from Mount St. Mary’s. Senior Gavin Stringer scored twice for the Retrievers, including the game-winner, and junior Adam Shiley notched three goals.
Senior midfielder Jon Harasym is also an offensive threat for UMBC, as is junior teammate Joey Kestermann. On defense, junior longstickman Greg Wojtech and 6-5 senior Eric Hester add range to the Retrievers and will be able to shut down passing lanes.
Greenhalgh’s five goals in the Colgate match currently leads the Red, while Shiley paces UMBC with four tallies.
The contest with the Retrievers is the third in a five-game non-conference stretch before Cornell opens the Ivy slate against Yale. For the time being, though, the Red is taking its opponents one game at a time.
“We’re finally back on Schoellkopf, it’s our home opener, so hopefully we can get up for it and come ready to play,” concluded McClay.
Archived article by Amanda Angel