March 4, 2003

Men's Lax Opens at Home Against Colgate

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A year ago, the men’s lacrosse team entered its game against Colgate looking for an easy win to rebound from a humbling season-opening loss to Georgetown. While Cornell was able to pull out a win, it was anything but easy. Armed with that experience, this year’s version of the Red (0-1) will return to Schoellkopf Field this afternoon for its home opener against the Raiders (1-1).

Saturday, the No. 11 laxers saw a tenuous first-half lead completely obliterated by No. 6 Georgetown in the third quarter in the Carrier Dome. Inability to win face-offs and establish a presence in the transition game spelled doom for the Red, which yielded 11 second-half goals to the Hoyas, losing 13-6.

For the game, Cornell had tremendous difficulty controlling face-offs, winning only four to Georgetown’s 20. The Hoyas also won the groundball battle, 34-26.

The Cornell offense was not able produce long enough possessions to give the defense adequate rest, and as a result the Red suffered on both ends of the field.

“The quick possessions went in our favor,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni, “but we had hope to hold on for a minute, a minute and a half at a time.”

Due to the fact that the defensive corps spent about three-quarters of the game on the field, Georgetown took advantage of the Red’s fatigue and capitalized in a big way.

“They wore us down,” said Tambroni. “We had a difficult time responding.”

The Raiders fell to Dartmouth on Saturday in their home opener, 10-7. Peter Watts and Jeff Vander Muelen each tallied three points for Colgate in the losing effort. Rookie goalie Andrew Jarolimek recorded 10 saves for the Raiders.

In last season’s 10-9 Cornell win in Hamilton, then-freshman attack Sean Greenhalgh led the attack, scoring five goals in just his second collegiate game. His two goals early in the fourth quarter gave the Red a short-lived four goal advantage and proved crucial as they provided the Red a bit of breathing room before the Raiders cut the lead to one later in the period.

It was Frank Sands’ goal with just under six minutes remaining that was the decisive blow, giving Cornell a 10-8 lead it would not relinquish.

Last season’s game served as a wakeup call for the Red, which had previously had little difficulty with Colgate.

Tambroni attributes the Raiders’ recent success to second-year head coach Jim Nagle.

“They’re an opportunistic team, a very well-coached team,” he said. “If we don’t come ready to play, we’ll be in trouble.”

This will be the Red’s first game at Schoellkopf this season. Last year, the Red went 5-1 on its home turf, including an emotional 15-11 win over then-No. 1 Syracuse through a driving rain storm.

“We’re hoping it will bring some excitement into the locker room,” said Tambroni.

“It’s an opportunity for us to get our first win in our first [home] game. We’re prepared to get back to our winning ways.”

Archived article by Owen Bochner