Old teammates will become rivals tonight, and a community will say goodbye to nine of its best, as the No. 9 men’s lacrosse team (8-4) takes to Schoellkopf Field for the final time this season.
While the team will face off against local rival Hobart, much more than a win is at stake. Cornell is currently the only team with a claim on the Ivy title, but wins from Princeton and Dartmouth would turn the race into a three-way tie. Closing the season with a win would go a long way with the NCAA tournament selection committee, should an at-large bid become necessary.
“If nothing else I think this is a must win. We’re treating this like a playoff game, for sure,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “We’re trying to approach this as a playoff game because we do very badly want to play again and give our seniors another chance to put on the jersey.”
Tambroni, an alumnus of Hobart, holds a 2-0 record over his former team and teammate. Hobart head coach Matt Kerwick was the Statesmen’s team captain when Tambroni was a sophomore. Along with a deep understanding of tonight’s opponent, he also carries a deep respect for the series.
“When you play a team like Hobart there’s always an extra incentive going into the game. It’s the longest running college lacrosse rivalry and it always seems to have an extra set of intangibles such as emotion,” Tambroni noted. “Being my alma mater, it always has a special place because I know what it was like to play [there] as a player.”
Senior captain Ryan McClay also regards tonight’s matchup as special, but for a different reason.
“We were talking about it [yesterday] — about walking off the field, and looking back and hopefully smiling,” said McClay. “I had a lot of good memories out there and I think that the last memory you have is probably going to stick for a long time, so I hope it’s a good one.”
To do that, Cornell will have to keep its offense firing on all cylinders. Twelve different Red players got in on the act during last weekend’s 14-4 win over Brown, with attackmen junior Dave Pittard, and sophomore Sean Greenhalgh recording four goals a piece. Junior attack Andrew Collins added to the win with four assists.
Cornell will also need to put the work in on the defensive end, especially if it hopes to contain Hobart’s attack, Jon Bogosian. The senior currently leads the team with 42 points and 31 goals.
“For an attackman who doesn’t play on the crease, it’s remarkable,” said Tambroni of Bogosian’s numbers. “This guy plays on the outside and he earns what he gets by dodging. He’s a hard nosed, gritty attackman.”
Still, if there’s one thing the Cornell defense is familiar with, it’s stopping attackmen. Last weekend it held Brown’s All-American Jon Thompson scoreless, and managed to assist on two goals while scoring another.
This week the job of stopping Bogosian will fall primarily to McClay.
“I think [Bogosian will] play more places than one so its going to be hard to keep track of him,” said Tambroni. “I think if we can do a good job of keeping track of him and putting Ryan on him as much as possible, we’ll have a good chance to be successful.”
Faceoff time is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Archived article by Matt Janiga