For the first time in four games, the dynamic scoring duo of junior Andrew Collins and sophomore Sean Greenhalgh was held to just a single point. However, the No. 12 men’s lacrosse team (5-2, 3-0 Ivy) was able to compensate with stingy defense and a productive midfield to edge Harvard (3-5, 0-2), 6-5, Saturday on Schoellkopf Field.
“Last couple of games I thought our offense shot the ball very well and carried our defense through a couple of wins,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “Today I thought without question, our defense carried our offense right to the finish line.”
Senior tri-captain J.P. Schalk and sophomore Justin Redd each scored a pair of goals while freshman Joe Boulukos and junior Dave Pittard added one apiece as the Red extended its win streak to five games. Anders Johnson led the Crimson with two goals.
Schalk opened the scoring early, scooping a rebound off of Harvard goalie Jake McKenna and firing the ball in on the left from just outside the crease two and a half minutes in. The Red continued to control the pace during the opening period, outshooting Harvard 9-5 and winning all four faceoffs.
With just under two minutes remaining, Boulukos accepted a long clearing pass from junior goalie Brandon Ross, and sped down the field. He fired on net from 20 yards out and beat McKenna on the low right corner to give Cornell a 2-0 lead. The goal came just minutes after Boulukos had the wind knocked out of him, forcing the rookie to leave the game for a short period. The Crimson got on the board less than a minute later as Mike McBride took advantage of the Crimson’s first man-up opportunity of the day, scoring from the right side to cut Cornell’s lead in half.
Midway through the second quarter, Harvard drew even as Johnson took advantage of a Ross stumble, finishing off a pass from Jay Wich and into the net. The game did not remain tied for long, though, as Redd sidearmed a shot past McKenna to the lower left corner at 5:06 to give Cornell a 3-2 lead at the break.
“I’ve definitely had a rough slump for these last few games so it feels good to put a couple in today,” he said. “It was kind of a relief seeing the ball go in the back of the net.”
The Collins-Greenhalgh connection had its best chance of the day one minute into the third quarter, as Collins fed Greenhalgh from behind the Harvard goal. Greenhalgh attempted a quickstick shot from the point, but the ball ricocheted off the crossbar and back into play. Seconds later, Pittard had a shot hit the right post to maintain the score at 3-2.
With two and a half minutes remaining in the period, Harvard again tied the game, as top-scorer Matt Primm battled through traffic, then faked left before beating Ross on the right side.
At 11:38 in the fourth quarter, the Crimson took its first lead of the game, 4-3, when Sean Kane went top-shelf on Ross.
However, Cornell showed its resiliency, and less than a minute later the game was again tied on Schalk’s second goal of the day.
“I think whenever there’s a tough situation, we look for the upperclassmen to step up,” said senior tri-captain Ryan McClay. “Today J.P. came back, beat two guys and snuck it on the inside of the pipe. When I look up, I say that’s our leader on the offensive end.”
Shortly after that, the Red reclaimed the lead, as a low shot from Pittard trickled in under McKenna’s stick.
“I think when it was 3-2, 3-3, I don’t know if our guys felt like it was possible that we were going to lose — not that they weren’t capable of beating us — once we went down 4-3 there was finally a sense of urgency on the field which we didn’t come out with in the first half, we didn’t come out with in the second half,” Tambroni explained.
After an apparent goal by Primm was waved off due to a crease violation, Redd scored his second of the afternoon to give Cornell a crucial insurance goal, and a 6-4 lead. His bullet from 15 yards out sailed past two Harvard defenders before reaching the back of the net. Greenhalgh was credited with an assist on the goal.
Johnson concluded the scoring with eight seconds remaining on the game off an assist from Doug Logigian to cut the Red lead to 6-5.
“I would give Harvard a lot of credit,” said Schalk. “They came out and gave us all we can handle. You just have to take the positives with the negatives. Justin stepped up for us, but ultimately we have to play better.”
Ross made seven saves while McKenna recorded nine. In addition, junior Scott Raasch won 10 of 15 faceoffs on the game.
There will be little time to rest for the Red, which will visit Syracuse tomorrow in a crucial non-conference test.
“I think that might have been part of the problem today. It’s tough not to look ahead to a game like that,” said McClay. “But now it’s here. We breath a sigh of relief, we pulled it out today. It’s become a really big rivalry for us in our years here, and I’m excited about it.”
Archived article by Owen Bochner