March 29, 2004

Men's Lacrosse Wins Emotional Ivy Opener

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Eleven days after the men’s lacrosse team watched helplessly as defensive leader and co-captain George Boiardi ’04 collapsed and died on the playing field, the team returned to game action yesterday with its Ivy League opener on Schoellkopf Field. The Red’s 10-6 victory over Yale was not perfect, but the team viewed the game as an important step in the healing process.

“It meant a lot for a lot of different reasons. There was a lot on the line, a lot of excitement in the locker room,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “The guys got an opportunity to put their minds at ease a little bit.”

After observing a moment of silence before the game, Cornell (4-1, 1-0) came out of the gates roaring, staking itself to a 5-2 lead at the end of the first half. The theme of Red defensive dominance was on display early, as Cornell held the Elis to just three shots on goal in the opening stanza.

After junior Mike Riordan scored the game’s first goal 5:40 into the game, senior co-captain Andrew Collins assisted on junior Sean Greenhalgh’s only score of the game, then added two consecutive goals to give the Red a 4-0 first-quarter lead.

Yale cut the lead to 4-1 as Ryan Calipuli scored 7:13 into the second quarter. Junior Kevin Nee scored the first of his two goals on the game shortly thereafter to give Cornell a four-goal lead once again. Yale’s Colin Neville closed out the first-half scoring in the second quarter’s waning minutes to send the teams to the locker rooms with the Red holding a 5-2 lead.

As was the story in the first half, Yale was again unable to create much offensively in the third quarter, due in large part to the Red’s stifling defense.

“I thought Coach [Ben] DeLuca [’98] did a great job,” Tambroni said. “Yale’s first midfield is extremely talented and extremely athletic.”

For the game, the Red defense forced six failed clears and dominated the ground ball battle, 30-23. Senior Brandon Ross, starting in goal for the first time this season, recorded eight saves on the game, including four in a very strong third quarter.

Meanwhile, the Cornell offensive unit was equally potent. The Red scored four times in the third quarter on only eight shots on net. Eight different players tallied goals for the Red, the most of any game so far this season.

“It was the first time in a while that our guys played together. It wasn’t one-on-one contact all over the field,” Tambroni said. “It was a dozen guys defending the goal, playing on the same page.” Collins led all scorers with six points on the afternoon, compiling a game-high four assists to complement his team-leading two goals. Greenhalgh added four points, a goal and three assists on the afternoon. For Yale, Seth Goldberg was the high-scorer with three goals, including two in the Elis’ last-ditch scoring run late in the fourth quarter.

Jordan Ellis had 12 saves for Yale.

For the third straight year, the Red ruined the Bulldogs’ undefeated season by winning the Ivy League opener. With the loss, Yale fell to 1-1 in conference play after it defeated Penn in last weekend’s Ivy opener.

Cornell simply viewed the victory as the beginning of a return to normalcy after the tragic events of two weeks ago.

“It was a step in the right direction,” Tambroni said.

Archived article by Owen Bochner
Sun Sports Editor