February 28, 2003

Lax Teams Open Season Against Ranked Opponents

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Tomorrow night marks the start of the men’s lacrosse season, as the Red travels to Syracuse to take on the Georgetown Hoyas. While Cornell has been preparing for nearly a month, head coach Jeff Tambroni is evaluating everything Georgetown brings to the field as a possible threat.

“They’re No. 6 in the country and they’re extremely athletic up and down the field,” said Tambroni. “They have probably one of the most dangerous players in the country.”

The player in question is long stick defender Kyle Sweeny. Twice an All-American, the Hoya senior is a groundball specialist who single handedly grabbed 75 last season.

“[He] can absolutely terrorize you up and down the field if you allow him to,” said Tambroni. “He’s a takeaway defender and awfully exciting to watch.”

But Cornell plans to do more than just watch Sweeny. The coaching staff plans to control him along with other key elements of the Georgetown game. Factoring into that plan are senior J.P. Schalk, junior Andrew Collins and sophomore standouts Justin Redd and Sean Greenhalgh. Using this combination of attackmen and midfielders, Tambroni looks to run a steady and paced offense.

“We’re going to have to be patient offensively,” he said. “They’re a very athletic and aggressive team which we don’t necessarily see everyday in practice, so we know we have to be selective with our shot opportunities to try and control the ball a little bit more.”

The third part of Cornell’s game plan is to control face-offs with a tight defense. To do this Cornell will have to slow Andy Corno, last season’s ECAC face-off leader.

“If we can do those three things, we’ll have a chance on Saturday,” said Tambroni.

Other returning starters for Georgetown include Trevor Walker and Mike Hamilton, the Hoyas’ top offensive threats from 2002. The duo combined for 51 goals last season — enough to earn both pre season All-American honors. Defensemen Bryant Greshman and Pat Collins also earned pre season honors for the Hoyas.

The Red boasts its own quartet of preseason honorees, however. Senior defenseman Ryan McClay, junior Tim DeBlois, Greenhalgh, and Redd were all selected as All Americans by Inside Lacrosse. McClay also earned the title of world’s best defender as he helped Team USA to tournament victory during this summer’s World Lacrosse Championships.

While the returning starters provide a solid core for both teams, Cornell and Georgetown still have a question mark between the pipes. Junior Brandon Ross will start for the Red, while either Andrew Owen or Rich D’Andrea will start for the Hoyas. All three have logged minimal minutes over their collegiate careers and are largely untested.

Still, Tambroni remains optimistic that his team’s preparation will be enough for a competitive game.

“You spend 27 days in the preseason to prepare for this one game,” said Tambroni. “You get one chance to open it up. I’m hopeful that we’ll be well prepared to go into the season and kick off the 2003 year against Georgetown.”

Archived article by Matt Janiga