April 2, 2004

M. Laxers Visit Penn

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Tomorrow marks the third straight season in which the men’s lacrosse team will enter its matchup against Penn ranked 15th in the nation. The team is hoping this year’s outcome will be the same as that of the past two.

Cornell has defeated Penn in each of the past two seasons in tight, and gritty contests. Last year, those in attendance at Schoellkopf saw the Red post seven first-half goals en route to a 13-7 victory. Then-sophomore attack Sean Greenhalgh exploded for six goals in the game to put the Red and Blue away. Still, the Quakers began to rally late, scoring three goals in the final six minutes to highlight the future potential of Penn’s young team.

“I don’t think that any history will factor into the game. This weekend its going to be a new game, and we have to go in there and just play hard,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “We have to win it still, and our guys will really have to play a good game. Penn is a good team, and every time we’ve played them in the past, it’s been a close game.”

This year, Penn enters the contest on a four-game home winning streak. The Quakers’ last game was a deceptive 7-5 win over Harvard, in which Penn dominated for the entire match, despite the close final score. The Quakers held a 5-3 lead to start the fourth period, and then shut the door on Harvard with two quick extra-man goals. Harvard managed to find the back of Penn’s net for a fourth goal, but only after being given a three-man advantage.

Penn’s most dangerous attack is Will Phillips, a senior with a 25-game point streak that has seen him produce 43 goals and countless assists. Against Harvard, Phillips earned two goals and an assist, earning a spot on the Ivy League’s weekly honor roll.

The Quakers’ offense is bolstered by several underclassmen, who — though not as accomplished as the senior attack — have been able to keep pace with Phillips this season. Sophomores James Riordan and D.J. Andrzejewski have notched points in six of Penn’s seven contests this season, while junior midfielder Zandy Reich has recorded 10 points (three goals, seven assists) since March 13.

The Red and Quakers are closely matched in several key areas. While Penn has the Ivy’s leading face off man in senior Ethan Haire, Cornell’s Scott Raasch is quickly closing in on Haire’s 60.4 winning percentage. In another key matchup is the extra-man situation. The Red is currently ranked 10th in the NCAA for killing man-down situations, while the Quakers have produced a recent three-game tear of eight extra-man goals.

“Scotty really has done a nice job for us, and he’s improved a lot this season. The Penn kid is the only guy who is ahead of him, and we know that,” Tambroni said. “We’ve been working on it in practice this week, and we really need Scott to come through. We’re also going to try to get the wingers in on it too, because it be just him. It’ll be a three-man effort out there.”

Not to be outdone, Cornell also enters the contest on a winning streak, comprised entirely from a three-game homestand.

In Sunday’s victory over Yale, the Red heated up early, earning a 5-1 lead and limiting Yale to just three first quarter shots. Overall, the scoring was spread amongst eight players — something that has turned out to be one of Cornell’s advantages this season — with assists coming primarily from Greenhalgh and senior Andrew Collins. Greenhalgh also reached a personal milestone in the game, becoming the 29th player in Cornell history to record 100 career points.

“We’ve been getting better each time out, and I think our effort last week was good. We need to keep that up this weekend. But I don’t think that we’ve actually been playing all that well,” Tambroni said. “Our practices have been good in the last week, but we need to improve. I think if we can get our offense going, then we’ll do a good job. And if we have the effort from last week and play the way we’ll do ok.”

Archived article by Matt Janiga
Sun Senior Writer