April 12, 2004

Men's Lacrosse Pulls Off Win Over Harvard in OT

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Both Cornell and Harvard found themselves seeing red on Saturday, as Red beat the Crimson, 9-8, in a heated overtime thriller at Jordan Field in Cambridge, Mass. Freshman Brian Clayton’s goal just under two minutes into overtime capped a late Cornell rally, pushing the No. 16 men’s lacrosse team to victory over it’s Ivy League foe. With just under four minutes remaining in regulation, Cornell trailed, 8-6, but junior midfielder Justin Redd assisted on the final three goals of the contest to help the Red tie and win the game. The victory brings Cornell’s record to 5-2 on the year and 2-1 in the Ivy League, while the Crimson drops to 4-4 overall and 0-2 in conference play.

Last season’s matchup between the two teams was a defensive battle resulting in a narrow 6-5 Cornell win over the Crimson at Schoellkopf Field. This time around saw similar action, as the Crimson defense smothered Cornell’s attack, forcing the midfield to provide the team’s scoring. But the midfield was up to the task, scoring eight of the team’s nine goals — including all five in the second half — to help give Cornell its sixth consecutive win against Harvard.

In addition to his three assists, Redd contributed a pair of goals against Harvard for the third consecutive season, totaling a game-high five points. Sophomore Joe Boulukos scored two pivotal goals, including the game-tying tally in the final minute of regulation, and senior long-stick Doug Needham also found the back of the net twice. Sophomore Sean Kane led Harvard’s attack with a hat trick, while sophomore Jake Samuelson and junior Mike McBride added two goals apiece for the Crimson.

“I feel great for our guys. I just felt like they battled back from a two goal deficit to tie it late in the game just showed a remarkable amount of composure coming down the stretch,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “We had talked about how disappointed we’d been the last two weekends. We didn’t play the last 13 minutes against Yale and we didn’t play the last six minutes of the Penn game. But there wasn’t one time in this game when the guys didn’t give all their effort.”

Faced with the two-goal deficit and 3:43 remaining in the contest, Cornell began its comeback when Redd dished a pass above the crease to senior Mike Riordan, who scored to bring the Red within one. After Harvard claimed the ensuing faceoff, the Crimson missed a pair of high-percentage shots to keep the clock moving, but one of its players stepped just outside the box with just over one minute left, giving Cornell possession. Redd came through again following the turnover with a pass to Boulukos, who fired and scored from 15 yards out on the left wing to tie the game with 54 seconds showing on the clock. The Red won the next faceoff, but was unable to score again before the fourth quarter ended.

Harvard established possession at the start of overtime, but was unable to get a shot off, and Cornell senior Tim DeBlois picked up a loose ball just over a minute into the extra period. After Cornell called a time out, Redd took control of the ball, as the teams took to the field. The junior initially began a move to the goal but held back and passed to Clayton on the left side. Clayton received the ball and sent a 20-yard shot that caught a piece of Harvard goaltender Jake McKenna’s stick before finding the top right corner of the net to end the game.

“One of our goals this week was to go down there and play hard all game. As the game wore on it just felt like they got more and more confident,” Tambroni said. “Then in overtime, we scored on our first possession. We were relieved when the game was over because this was a very talented Harvard team, but I liked to see our guys win in the fashion they did.”

To open the contest, the teams traded off four straight goals, with Cornell scoring first and gaining the lead four times only to have the Crimson answer on each occasion.

Boulukos took advantage of the Red’s first man-up opportunity, scoring from 15 yards straight out with a shot that went under McKenna’s left arm to make it a 1-0 contest. Cornell’s first unsuccessful clear of the day proved to be costly, as the Crimson took over possession in the final minute of the opening quarter, leading to a goal by Samuelson. The Harvard midfielder eluded a double-team by the Cornell defense and sent a bouncer to the back of the net with 23.7 seconds left in the quarter.

Redd scored the first of his two goals 1:25 into the second quarter, as the junior had his initial shot saved before junior Sean Greenhalgh picked up the rebound and passed it back to Redd, who found the low right corner to make the game 2-1. A little over a minute later, McBride knotted the score at 2-2 with an unassisted tally.

Greenhalgh struck next, netting the Cornell attack’s lone goal with under 10 minutes left before halftime on an assist by senior Andrew Collins. Kane responded with 6:06 showing on the clock with his first marker of the afternoon on one of freshman Greg Cohen’s three assists.

The Red would take a lead into the half, however, as the Crimson got caught changing personnel during a Cornell clearing attempt with over a minute left in the second quarter. Sophomore Dave Bush recorded his first collegiate point by running down the middle of the field with the ball before dishing off to Needham, who made it a 4-3 contest with his second goal of the season.

“I was pleased to know that we could win a game when the attack only scores one goal. It’s nice to know that our other guys can contribute and shift into our offensive production,” Tambroni said. “But, on the other hand, I was a little bit disappointed in what we did. The middies were getting a lot more looks at the cage and taking a lot more shots. I don’t think we played all that well with the attack, I think the guys played under their potential.”

The Crimson made its charge in the third quarter, scoring three unanswered goal to take its first lead of the game and capturing the first two-goal advantage by either team at 6-4. Kane scored under two minutes into the latter half, driving to the cage before beating Cornell goaltender Brandon Ross with a high shot. The Crimson sophomore gave the home team a 5-4 edge at the 10:43 mark of the quarter by completing his hat trick on another assist from Cohen. Kane’s classmate, Tom Boylan, finished the three-goal stretch with his third tally of the year, completing the third-quarter scoring.

Freshman Matt McMonagle replaced Ross in the Cornell goal following the Boylan tally and Needham ended the Red’s scoring drought of over 18 minutes with the first goal of the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to 6-5. Samuelson made it a two-goal affair again with an unassisted goal off a bouncer with less than 10 minutes left in regulation, but Redd scored from 12 yards out just over a minute later, resulting in a 7-6 lead for the home team.

After McKenna made a spectacular point-blank save on a five-yard shot by Greenhalgh to protect the one-goal lead, the Crimson offense came through again, as Cohen found McBride for a goal with 4:41 remaining in the half. It was, however, Harvard’s last goal of the contest, as the Cornell began its decisive run less than a minute later.

Despite inspirational finish, Tambroni remained concerned about the team’s Tuesday game against No. 3 Syracuse.

“If we’re going to win this one, we need to get a lot more production,” he said. “We need more from our attackmen. We need them to get on the scoreboard.”

Archived article by Everett Hullverson
Sun Assistant Sports Editor