Today’s men’s lacrosse game against Binghamton will bring a mixture of the familiar and totally unknown to Schoellkopf Field. The laxers, no strangers to playing in the snow, will have a fresh coat of powder on the artificial surface come game time, but the game will mark the first against the Bearcats (1-1). The No. 11 Red (2-1) comes into the game after winning its home-opener against Stony brook, 9-5, on Saturday. Binghamton, on the other hand, dropped its most recent contest to Hofstra, 14-9.
Unlike Cornell’s storied lacrosse program, Binghamton’s team is only two years old. But in that short amount of time, the Bearcats have improved incredibly, and this year entered the America-East lacrosse conference ranked No. 6. Cornell head coach Jeff Tambroni added the upstart squad to the Red’s schedule this year to give his players a good midweek game and, perhaps, teach his players a little something about heart.
“Their team lacks depth, but the starters that they’ll have will all be very athletic, just young. They make up what they lack in experience with heart and passion. They’re an extremely hungry group. The stuff we lacked this past saturday is what this team will have,” he said. “Their coach has done a great job already in his short time there.”
Intensity and continuity have eluded Cornell’s squad so far in its young season. Though the laxers strung together enough offense to beat Hofstra on the road three weeks ago, Georgetown spanked the team in its next match, winning by an embarrassing 14-4 score. Following the debacle, Tambroni and his players felt that the team’s offense lacked rhythm, that individuals had failed to click. And, though the laxers were pleased with the outcome of last weekend’s match, doubts about the team’s overall unity still lingered.
“We’ll have to go out and do a better job than we did last saturday, and I hope we’ll match their intensity out on the field as well as our depth and talent,” Tambroni said. “I hope we’ll just play harder. That’s our number one goal.”
But hustle alone will not win the game for Cornell, which must also stay alert to several talented Binghamton players.
“They have two or three offensive players who are very good who we’ll need to key on. They have one middie in particular who plays a lot for them. He does faceoffs. He plays in the offensive end. He plays in the defensive end. He presents a lot of matchup problems just based on size alone,” Tambroni continued. “They also have a returning attackman who’s a lefty, which makes him a threat. This is going to be another one of those games where we’ll have an uphill battle all 60 minutes.”
But Cornell should be amply prepared to handle its upstate challenger. Senior co-captain Andrew Collins, Junior Sean Greenhalgh, and sophomore midfielder Joe Boulukos have all been busy offensively for the Red, tallying 10, 8, and 9 points apiece already this year. In the opposite end of the field, senior co-captain Tim DeBlois anchors a stout Cornell defense, and freshman goalie Matt McMonagle has found his niche as the team’s starting netminder.
Though confident of his team’s ability to win this afternoon, Collins also knows that Binghamton could be a sleeper, not to be taken lightly.
“They play hard, and we can’t take any team lightly. They’re not Syracuse or Princeton on our schedule, but we can’t overlook them,” he said. “Stony brook really taught us a lesson that its about heart. We have to start coming out in every game and practice and going as hard as we can. I think that we have to prepare ourselves to be at the level we want to be at.”
Affirmed Tambroni, “If we do our job, take smart shots, and play with a lot of heart and passion, and do it together, then we’ll just watch things unfold.”
Archived article by Everett Hullverson