March 13, 2002

Strong Second Half Propels M. Lax to 16-5 Win

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The men’s lacrosse team had its most productive quarter in recent memory, scoring nine goals in the third quarter of yesterday’s 16-5 win over Canisius. Even junior tri-captain Ryan McClay got on the score sheet, burying the game-winner 35 seconds after halftimewith his second career goal.

The prolific 15 minutes redeemed the Red (3-1) from its disappointing first half. After Saturday’s commanding 16-4 win over UMBC, the men’s lacrosse team seemed resolute on not overlooking Cansius (1-1). However, the team didn’t take its own advice as it could only manage a slim 5-4 advantage through the first half against the Golden Griffens.

“Before the game I don’t think that we respected Canisius. We felt that we were confident, and we were Cornell, and we were just going to take it to them,” McClay said.

“We didn’t come out mentally prepared,” senior attacker Billy Fort agreed. “I think that we thought that we were just going to roll right over them and we didn’t. And the second half we realized that, and we put it together.”

“We didn’t overlook Cansius,” head coach Jeff Tambroni specified. “But judging by the first half performance, we didn’t take them as a serious challenge, which was unfortunate.”

Canisius surprised the Red off the bat, as Jason Levesque scored the first goal 1:45 into the game on an assist from Mark Miyashita. Miyashita had a hand in all of the Griffens’ five goals.

The Red kept the game close, going ahead 2-1 and 3-2 finally taking the lead going into the half. Cornell outshot them 34-11, but Seth Vath had 15 saves, while senior Justin Cynar only mustered three in that span of time.

“We weren’t picking up ground balls and the pace of the game was so painfully slow in the first half that it really led to Canisius’ advantage. It ended up being a half field game, and they’re pretty decent at half-field offense because they have pretty slick sticks,” Tambroni said.

Going into halftime, the captains, seniors, and coaches addressed the team about its sluggish, lackluster play.

“The guys understood that we just weren’t playing well, and I think there comes a time when you don’t need to say anything. Certainly we had some choice words for our guys at halftime,” Tambroni said.

Whatever was or wasn’t said worked for Cornell as it picked up the pace and started distancing itself from Canisius a mere 18 seconds into the third quarter. Sophomore Andrew Collins, who equalled his seven-point effort against UMBC on four goals and three assists, beat Vath with help from junior J.P. Schalk.

McClay followed 27 seconds when he took a clear straight to the net. It was he second career goal.

“It’s always fun when a longstick gets a chance to go to in the net,” he said.

From that point the flood gates opened as Cornell reeled off 11 unanswered goals.

“We knew that it was our fault in the first half. We knew we weren’t hitting our shots and we knew that we had to play harder,” Fort said, “so we just came out there and got it done.”

“In the second half we started shooting a little lower and we started sticking them. The one main thing is our defense started creating a lot of transition. and that really helped us out.”

The defense also thwarted the Griffen offense that seemed to confound it at times in the first half.

“Defensively we didn’t take advantage of some of the matchups, so we were trying to put a little more pressure. In first h