February 3, 2004
Icers Fall From Poll
| February 3, 2004
After losing both games of this past weekend’s home-and-home series to Central New York neighbor Colgate, the men’s hockey team found itself dropped from the weekly USCHO.com poll. Meanwhile, Colgate, which moved to second place in the ECAC with the four-point weekend, made its first appearance of the year in the top 15, checking in at the 15th spot.
With its 6-1 win and 1-1 tie at home against Denver, the Fighting Sioux of North Dakota remained at No. 1, earning 27 of the 40 possible first-place votes. Boston College, which has been second in the polls for weeks, stays planted there after its 4-0 win over Hockey East rival Providence.
After flipping positions last week, Maine and Michigan switched places again, as the Bears overtook the Wolverines for the nation’s third spot. Both teams swept their opponents, but it was Maine which had the more impressive performance — a home sweep of UNH. Despite outscoring Lake Superior State 9-1 in two games, Michigan dropped to No. 4.
No. 5 Minnesota, led by defenseman Keith Ballard’s four points, swept Wisconsin in two tightly contested contests.
Staying put at No. 6 was Minnesota-Duluth, which had the week off. The Bulldogs will return to action against a Minnesota-State team that has loads of offense. Miami (OH) continued its steady climb up the polls, rising four spots to No. 7 following an impressive road sweep of Michigan State in which it allowed just two goals.
St. Cloud State moved up to No. 8 without even having to suit up, while Wisconsin and UNH dropped to the No. 9 and No. 10 spots, respectively, following their losses over the weekend.
Denver slipped to 11th after its performance against North Dakota, while ECAC-leading Brown rose to No. 12 with its 2-1 overtime win against Harvard. Ohio State moved up two places to No. 13, followed by Massachusetts, which earned an eight-point weekend with a pair of wins, combined by two forfeits by UMass-Lowell. Colgate rounded out the poll at 15th.
Archived article by Alex Ip
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February 4, 2004
Joe Mazzurco ended his first wrestling match pinned flat on his back. The loss shamed him into giving up on the sport for the next three years. But, under the influence of his two older brothers — both wrestlers — Mazzurco jumped back into the ring, and he hasn’t looked back since. Entering this season as the top 165-pound wrestler on the Red’s lineup, the grappler hoped that over a decade of drilling, lifting, and competing would finally pay off with a trip to the NCAA tournament this March. But in January, those dreams got cut short when he suffered a freak injury during a bout. Sidelined since, the grappler now looks to make the most out of his rehabilitation and make a triumphant return to the team by season’s end. “Joe’s a great guy to have on the team because of his leadership and because of what he’s been capable of during the season,” said senior teammate Tyler Baier. “With him in our lineup, I know we can vie for the EIWA championship. We also want to see him back because it’d be disappointing not to have him. We know all he’s put into the season.” The year began well for Mazzurco, who shot his record to 17-5 with a second-place finish at the Body Bar invitational, and a fourth-place medal at the Midlands Invitational. More importantly, Mazzurco felt that this was his year to break through. “I’d built up such great momentum after taking fourth at Midlands. I’d wrestled my first matches really well,” he said. “Everything was just starting to click with my rhythm and momentum. Then everything just came to a screeching halt.” The accident happened during a January 3rd match against Cal-State Fullerton’s Craig Wilkerson, when Mazzurco took a shot for Wilkerson’s legs but caught his hip instead. “I shot, and my face got pretty much right into his hip. It stunned me for a second, and then I kept wrestling,” recounted Mazzurco. “Then my mouth started to fill up with blood, and I knew something’s wrong. I told Chris, our trainer, that I thought I’d lost a tooth. He said ‘all your teeth are there.’ So they took me to the hospital for x-rays and that’s where I found out it was broken in two spots.” The injury forced Mazzurco out of the match into the emergency room, where doctors told him he had two options. “The basic thing the doctors told me was that it would take six to eight weeks to heal, so if I wanted to come back, I had to have surgery soon,” said Mazzurco. “I decided to do it there, and luckily the place I had it done was Baylor Medical Center in Dallas. If you had to do it anywhere, that’s the place to do it.” In the weeks that followed, the team felt Mazzurco’s absence on the mat and wondered if it would see him return for the end of the season. The Red went 2-5 in the next seven matches after losing its starter and only recently has the team regained its championship form with key wins over Ivy opponents No. 16 Penn and Princeton. “It’s been pretty hard for us to replace Joe. We’ve got a freshman, David Post, in to replace him, but he’s just not at Joe’s level right now. He lacks a lot of experience that Joe has,” lamented head coach Rob Koll. “With Joe we’d have beaten Wisconsin and even won two matches to Hofstra because Joe had beaten their kid earlier in the year. Assuming we win that match, we get those three duals.” But wins and losses aside, the team missed Mazzurco’s presence off the mat more than anything. As a hard worker, talented wrestler, and good friend, Mazzurco provided leadership and inspiration to many of his teammates. “Joe is a great team leader, and he’s one of those guys who works hard day in and day out. He’s probably one of the most improved wrestlers on the team this year,” said Baier. “He was wrestling great up until his injury, which was really heartbreaking not only for him but for the team, because we had a lot of dual meets right after his injury, and he really was a big void to fill.” But now that the throbbing in his mandible has subsided and Mazzurco has grown accustomed to drinking his meals, the grappler is back in action and doing all he can to train for a comeback. “I can pretty much do everything except wrestle right now. As long as I work as hard as possible to stay in as good of shape as possible, I’m pretty confident I can come back and be fine,” explained Mazzurco. “The hardest thing is eating, because I enjoy food more than anybody. Basically, I just have to eat as much as possible of what I can, like small pasta, mashed potatoes, cereal, oatmeal, anything just to keep my weight up.” “He’s been staying on the weights hard, he’s been running on the treadmill, and hitting the bike,” added Baier. “When he comes back, it’ll take a little time for him to adjust, but he’ll come back quickly.” But not too quickly. Following doctor’s orders, Mazzurco won’t test the shearing strength of his jaw by wrestling live just yet. But, if all goes well, he will return to the Red’s lineup in about three weeks — just in time to prepare for the EIWA championships. When he steps back on the mat, the grappler’s first priority will be to win his own matches. Beyond that, though, he hopes that he can contribute wins down the road to help carry Cornell through the national tournament. “I’d like to hope that my return will be valuable to the team. I’m gonna come back and do my best to achieve my individual goals and, hopefully, that will help the team win the EIWA title,” concluded Mazzurco. “And then going into nationals, we want to have a top five finish. If we can put it all together at the end of the year and bring our best effort forward, we can be a top five team.”Archived article by Everett Hullverson
February 4, 2004
Twenty-one years ago, a father and a son arrived on the campus of Cornell University for a visit. The father had never gone to college. The son was an All-City, All-Area, and All-Catholic linebacker at St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia, and was being recruited for the Cornell football team by then-head coach Bob Blackman. The pair had recently been on the campus of another Ivy League university, one at which the son just didn’t feel comfortable. But for both, Cornell was different. It was magic. And both the father and son fell in love, and in August of 1983, the son returned to the Hill for good. Last Friday — 21 years later — that player, Jim Knowles ’87, came home. “When you have a vision for a job, and you just feel it down to the core of your body that this job and this career for myself is not a profession, it’s a vocation … I’m coming to Cornell not to just to coach football, but to contribute to a university that I love,” a tearful Knowles said at Friday’s press conference introducing him to the Cornell community. And with his hiring, Knowles helped accomplish two goals: he became the 25th head coach in Cornell football history, putting an end to an exhaustive nine-week long search; and more important, he completed the full circle of his football career. Knowles’ attachment with the Red became apparent very early on. In his freshman year of 1983, he played linebacker and earned the Outstanding Frosh Defensive Award. Two years later, after being moved to defensive back by then-defensive coordinator Pete Noyes, Knowles was a starter and tied for the team lead in sacks. A year after that, he was second-team All-Ivy on a team that fell just one win short of a league championship, falling to Penn, 31-21, in the season’s final game. In 1988, Knowles joined head coach Maxie Baughan’s staff as a part time assistant — and the Red won an Ivy League championship. He remained with the Red for eight more seasons before taking a job with Western Michigan in 1997. After six years with the Broncos, and one with Ole Miss, Knowles found himself facing a huge decision one week ago today: accept a job as linebackers coach for Bill Callahan’s University of Nebraska staff, or return to Ithaca to become the head coach of the program and school he so loved. For him, the choice quickly became obvious. “Everyone was well aware that this was a job that I felt was right for me,” he said. “And it was home. So all those factors together, there was still a decision, but it wasn’t a hard one.” And now, Cornell fans everywhere will hope that the choice Knowles made is the right one. Yet somehow, that question has already been answered. Knowles will be perfect for this job because this job is in his heart, it’s in his blood, it’s in his soul. “I think I’ve spent my whole life talking about Cornell Football,” he said at the conclusion of his press conference last Friday, “and hopefully I’ll spend the rest of my life talking about Cornell Football.” We hope so too. Welcome home, Coach.Archived article by Owen Bochner