While Ithaca has hardly seen any signs of spring, the men’s lacrosse team showed flashes of a squad that is determined to make another run at the national title with a thrilling 11-10 win over No. 10 Notre Dame (1-1) on Saturday.
The Red (1-0), which was rated ninth in Inside Lacrosse/Face-Off poll — its highest preseason ranking ever — rode a five-goal performance from senior attacker Sean Greenhalgh in the team’s home opener.
“I don’t think we put four quarters together, but the guys put together a really good effort,” said assistant coach Ben DeLuca ’98.
Cornell did not get off to the fastest of starts, with the Irish scoring the first two goals of the game by Jim Morrison and Drew Peters. However, Greenhalgh scored a pair in the first quarter and junior Joe Boulukos added another as the Fighting Irish led, 4-3, after one quarter of play.
The Irish would extend its lead to three, after it kicked off the second quarter with goals from Colin Fatti and Pat Walsh. However, with 6:57 left in the period, the game’s momentum shifted.
With a man advantage, Boulukos scored off an assist from senior Justin Redd to to cut the lead to 6-4. His goal started a commanding run for the Red, in which it held Notre Dame scoreless for nearly 30 minutes, stretching into the fourth quarter.
“I think some of our guys just had to work out their butterflies and pregame nerves, but we settled down in the defensive end and offensive end,” DeLuca said.
After Boulukos’ goal, Greenhalgh added his third with 2:18 left in the second. Boulukos again found the back of the net to open up the third period, before Greenhalgh scored two more goals. Junior Dave Bush and sophomore Brian Clayton each added one.
Undeterred, Notre Dame finally answered back through a Matt Ryan goal with 10:50 remaining. Ryan again tallied another score for the Irish, before Cornell sophomore David Mitchell’s goal put Cornell up 11-8 with less than six minutes to play. Mitchell’s goal would be the eventual game-winner, as Notre Dame tacked on another two goals, but failed to make up the whole deficit, giving Cornell its first win.
Cornell senior Kevin Nee added three assists, while the tallies by Mitchell and Bush were their first career goals for Cornell. Redd also added two assists on the night.
But, the hero was Greenhalgh, who’s five goals were his personal best since the Red played Penn during the 2003 season. Greenhalgh also took 13 shots, nine of which were on target.
“Greenhalgh was terrific for us,” DeLuca said. “Not only is he a great kid off the field, but he’s such a great leader on the lacrosse field. It’s just a joy to watch him play … he’s one of the best finishers in the country … he does a great job of leading the offense by example.”
While Greenhalgh’s individual effort was an obvious feature of the game, Cornell’s traditionally stingy defense, led by senior Kyle Georgalas, played a pivotal role in the final result — especially during the Red’s seven-goal run. Georgalas and the Red held all-American attacker Pat Walsh to a goal and two shots, while Cornell sophomore goaltender Matt McMonagle stopped 14 Irish attempts.
“[Georgalas] is our leader back there,” DeLuca said. “He gets everybody on the same page and conveys our message from the sidelines to the rest of the team on the field.”
Cornell, which scrimmaged against several teams over the past few weeks including Johns Hopkins, will travel to West Point to face Army. While it is still early, DeLuca said that the win is a big boost for his team.
“[The game] was crucial for both teams,” DeLuca said. “It was great to get the season off on the right foot.”
Archived article by Brian Tsao
Sun Assistant Sports Editor