The current national leader in assists is a Cornell student, but you won’t find him on the ice or the hardwood. Instead, you’ll find Andrew Collins on Schoellkopf Field, practicing with the No. 14 men’s lacrosse team.
Collins currently leads the Red in assists (19) and points (27). His eight-assist effort against Yale last Saturday put the junior two points above his 2002 season total of 17.
Still, while Collins may have taken the helm of the Cornell offense this season, the story actually begins last year with a little help from his teammates.
“It started to click for me last year and I started to get confidence,” said Collins of his offensive success. “Going against players like Ryan McClay and Timmy DeBlois, who are just amazing defensemen, day in and day out makes you a better attack.
“The way I look at it is that I don’t see many defensemen as great as them on game day. If I’m going against the best, it’s only making me better.”
After starting at midfield this season, Collins was quickly moved back to the attack position. The Red saw results almost immediately. Collins, however, gives much of the credit to his teammates and their newfound desire to win.
“After that third game, that loss to Hofstra, we said, ‘come out a new team, come out focused,'” Collins said. “Every single day is a step forward for us.”
With every step forward, however, there is a new barrier to face. Collins’ teammate, sophomore attack Sean Greenhalgh, also exploded offensively last season, and as a result found himself marked by opposing defenses. While the same will no doubt eventually happen to Collins, he is not worried.
“We have a very balanced attack, I think that if defenses try to concentrate too much on myself or Sean, it’s really going to open the floodgates for some of our other weapons,” he said. “I think those guys are really going to have openings that other teams can’t afford to give them. It’s going to be hard for them to defend our players.”
A balanced attack was also a key part of last season’s success, with the win over Syracuse a prime example. Six different Cornell players got on the scoreboard in the 15-11 upset. Collins, netting two goals, came off the field with one of his most memorable games.
“The victory against Syracuse was one of the greatest moments of my lacrosse career,” noted the junior. “It was a great day for the Cornell lacrosse program and for me personally.”
The game that is most memorable to the attackman, however, is the NCAA tournament loss to UVA.
“One of the biggest moments also, was the loss to Virginia in the quarterfinals. Where we want to be on Memorial Day weekend is in that final four and I think that loss to Virginia really stands out in our minds,” said Collins.
“It’s in the back of my head every time I go out and practice, every time I go out on game day. That loss to Virginia is really burned in my memory right now, and I think that its one of the bigger moments in my lacrosse career,” he added.
Collins and the rest of the men’s lacrosse team continue their march to Memorial Day this Saturday against Pennsylvania, at 1 p.m. on Scheollkopf field.
Archived article by Matt Janiga