The men’s lacrosse team (7-1, 3-0 Ivy) has had a streaky season so far. And it’s not just because it just won its seventh straight game against Harvard Saturday. More often than not, Cornell’s play in games has been a story of halves or quarters. Sometimes a commanding early lead disappears or other times the Red erases a deficit with an offensive surge of its own.
Against the Crimson, Cornell was behind 4-2 entering the second half before it went on a 9-0 run to end the game, 11-4. The week prior, the Red was tied 3-3 with Penn after the first 30 minutes, but scored four consecutive goals after halftime to grab a 7-4 win.
A different variation of the same theme appeared against Yale when Cornell scored eight first half goals while shutting out the Elis. However, the Red was held scoreless in the second while Yale scored four goals. On March 12, Cornell eked a slight 5-4 lead over Canisius after the first two quarters, but that differential was increased due to a nine goal second half. And while it resulted in the Red’s only loss on the season, the team played much better in its second half then the first when senior goalie Justin Cynar’s 18 saves kept Cornell in the game.
With No. 1 Syracuse (7-1) coming to Schoellkopf this afternoon, the Red cannot afford to be caught off guard for an entire half, or even a quarter.
“We don’t have to be great to beat Syracuse, but we have to do the little things very well and make sure that we’re all on the same page throughout the entire game, said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “I don’t feel like we can afford to have a half like we did against Harvard.”
Syracuse is the best team that Cornell will face this season and will take advantage of any space Cornell leaves for them. They can do this with attackers like Mike Powell, of the renowned Powell brothers, who is leading the nation in points, Mike Springer and First Team All-American Josh Coffman and at-least a half dozen other competent members of its offense.
Although its NCAA leading offense takes much of the credit for the team’s success, the Orange is solid throughout the midfield and defense. It could be the most talented team in the nation.
That does not mean that the Orange are unbeatable, however, it just means that the Red cannot suffer from any mental lapses and expect the ‘Cuse not to capitalize.
So the team must play consistently and with confidence for all four quarters, on both ends. The offense must be patient and meticulous in its passing to avoid any costly turnovers, which often translate into the Orange’s transition goals.
Also the attack must be able to give the backfield much needed rest to defend against Syracuse’s three midfielders and corps of attackmen.
In order to battle the Orangemen’s depth, Tambroni is prepared to use a slew of players who have not logged significant minutes. Senior Colin Crawford, sophomore Mike Riordan and junior Chris Morea will most likely come off the bench as the Red fills its need for fresh legs.
“We have to play more people more,” Tambroni said. “Because the way Syracuse plays and because of the depth that they have on the team, we’ll play those guys. You’ll see different faces on the field from Crawford and Riordan on the field to Morea.”
With the addition of players from the bench and the concentration involved with playing the best team in the country, Cornell should be able to play the entire game with the intensity it has shown in isolated periods during the season. It must do that in order to be victorious in consecutive Syracuse visits to East Hill.
“We’re really starting to play together,” said freshman Sean Greenhalgh, and three-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week. “We’re starting to put games together.”
Archived article by Amanda Angel