Playing with an uncharacteristically lackluster attack, the men’s lacrosse team battled back from a four-goal deficit yesterday to win its home opener 8-7 over Colgate.
Sophomore Sean Greenhalgh led the way for the Red (1-1), scoring three goals and adding an assist for his first points of the young season. Junior Dave Pittard added two goals and an assist to give him a team-leading five total points on the season, his first at Cornell after transferring from the Naval Academy last year.
The Red got off to a slow start as the Raiders scored three times in the opening quarter to race out to an early 3-0 lead.
“I felt like we should have come out a little bit more inspired,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “We’re playing our first home contest against a good opponent from upstate New York. I felt like it would be a good physical battle from both sides.”
Colgate got on the board early, as Scott Herbst, working in front of the Cornell net, passed to teammate Nick Gerken who fired a shot past junior goalie Brandon Ross from the right side two and a half minutes in. Five minutes later, the Raiders got on the board again when Ross allowed a Jason Vasas shot to trickle under his stick and into the net.
With just under three minutes remaining, Colgate scored its third goal of the period as Peter Watts scored off of Herbst’s second assist of the game.
“It was a frustrating lacrosse game for us,” said Tambroni. “We were doing some good things, but I thought they played [well] within themselves. They played a wonderful system offensively, they played a wonderful system defensively.”
The Red saw several good scoring chances go by the wayside in the opening period. Greenhalgh had an open look on net but had his shot saved by Colgate goalie Andrew Jarolimek. Minutes later, sophomore Justin Redd fired a tracer towards the goal, but Jarolimek was able to get his stick in front to make the save.
In the quarter’s waning moments the Red failed to convert on another scoring chance as senior Frank Sands fed Greenhalgh to Jarolimek’s left, only to see the 2002 Ivy League Rookie of the Year’s shot trickle wide.
“We took shots, but the goalie made great saves,” said Greenhalgh. “Once you make one save, then you make another save and your confidence builds.”
“I thought he played an unbelievable game,” added Tambroni. “Every time we got momentum going up and down the field, we made a shot and the goalie was there. It made for a long afternoon.”
The Red entered the scoring column about midway through the second quarter as Pittard went top-shelf off a feed from junior Andrew Collins. However, the Raiders responded with two straight Vasas goals to extend their lead to 5-1.
Pittard’s second goal of the game, with 1:57 remaining, cut the score to 5-2 going into half-time.
Cornell opened the second half with a much more settled offensive effort, which paid off as the Red outscored Colgate for the first time all game.
“We didn’t come out with the intensity that we needed to come out with,” said Collins. “In the second half we came out with a little more intensity, a little more emotion, dug in together and played well.”
Four minutes into the half, the Red worked the ball around the Colgate goal to break up the Raider defense. Then, Greenhalgh delivered an outlet pass to senior J.P. Schalk, who fired a shot low past Jarolimek for the score. One minute later, Collins found Greenhalgh on the left side, who snuck the ball in on the corner.
Watts’ second goal with 30 seconds remaining in the third pushed the Colgate lead back to two. The Raiders would extend their lead again to 7-4 early in the fourth as Chris Devens scored off a feed from Gerken in an extra-man situation. Freshman Joe Boulukos was serving a 30-second pushing penalty when the goal was scored.
Again, the Red went to work. At 12:17, Pittard passed over the net to Greenhalgh, who scored a quick-stick goal to cut the lead to two. The lead would be slashed to 7-6 less than a minute later on a goal by Redd.
Cornell tied the game on Greenhalgh’s game-high third goal, which came at 8:22 after he gobbled up a rebound and fired the ball home from point-blank range.
With two minutes left, Collins picked off a Raider clearing attempt and ran the ball back into the Colgate defensive zone. Running off a screen by Greenhalgh, Collins shot into the right side of the goal for the game-winner.
“I saw an opportunity to go to the goal, and I try to make the best of those opportunities,” said Collins.
A key to the game for the Red was a markedly improved effort on face-offs. After losing 20 out of 24 face-offs to Georgetown on Saturday, the Red turned to freshman Joe D’Arrigo. The rookie had much better success, winning 17 of 19 face-offs, including all 10 in the second half.
“Today was the most dominant face-off performance I’ve ever seen, except maybe for Saturday,” said Tambroni. “It’s just what we needed.”
However, there remains room for improvement from the Red’s offensive corps.
“I don’t think there’s anybody on the offensive end right now that is playing great lacrosse,” said Tambroni. “If we’re going to compete against Hofstra, Colgate, Georgetown, Canisius, Penn State — straight through the line — our offense really needs to start stepping up as a team.”
Cornell grabbed 36 groundballs as compared to Colgate’s 19.
The Red will look to make it two straight on Saturday when it visits Hofstra.
Archived article by Owen Bochner