With its NCAA tournament aspirations hanging in the balance, the men’s lacrosse team (9-2, 4-1 Ivy) will host upstart Brown (6-6, 3-1) tomorrow afternoon at Schoellkopf Field.
Cornell is coming off a disappointing set back to Ancient Eight juggernaut Princeton. The Tigers 12-7 triumph assured them the Ivy title should they win their last two contests against Dartmouth and Brown.
“The most disappointing aspect of the Princeton game was that nobody on our team could say they played their best game,” assistant coach and defensive coordinator Bobby Wynn explained. “All season long we have placed a premium on preparation and inputs.”
Indeed the lackluster intensity reflected in Cornell being out-ground-balled for the first time all season. But it was shortcomings in transition defense that ultimately spelled the Red’s demise. That facet of the laxers game must be improved if they hope to enjoy success against a Brown offense that is more than capable of running the field.
The bulk of the Bears’ scoring is generated by the talented midfield, which is quarterbacked by senior sensation Jimmy Mormile. The Long Island native is coming of an outstanding six-goal effort in a 13-7 win over Providence. Junior Jon Thompson leads all Bear scorers with 21 tallies.
If Cornell hopes to slow the Brown offense, its efforts may start from the face-off X — an area in which it has enjoyed great success for the better part of the season. With junior Addison Sollog nursing an ailing back, the entire face off unit, particularly the play of the wings, will take on added responsibility.
“There is not a guy who gives more or wants to do more than Addison Sollog,” Wynn lauded, finishing, “We need to perform well as a complete face-off unit.”
Led by freshman stud Sean Greenghalgh, who has already dashed the record for scoring by a rookie, Cornell’s offensive potency has surprised many. Thanks in part to the new smaller, swifter attack the Red is generating an abundance of scoring opportunities. However, against Princeton it was simply unable to capitalize on its opportunities and its less than stellar shooting accuracy helped pave the road to defeat.
Brown’s defense is anchored by one of the most talented goalies in the league — crafty Michael Levin who sports a .601 save percentage. He has turned aside 143 shots through 10 games.
“He has been their most valuable player on defense. If we want to be successful against him we have to do a better job finishing our chances,” Wynn said.
More than anything though, the Red must regroup and slow the tempo of the game. Cornell will look to retain the gritty, scrappy style that has returned it to the top of the national polls.
“We’ve gotten back to being a hungry team,” Wynn said of the Red’s commendable efforts in practice this week.
Cornell will honor Eamon McEneaney ’77 during a post-game ceremony. Regarded by many to be one of the greatest players the sport has ever seen, McEneaney was killed in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. McEneaney’s number 10 will be officially retired.
Archived article by Gary Schueller