Emotions are a big part of sports — there is the agony of defeat, the joy of victory, and the determination of each player to do their very best.
Yesterday at Schoellkopf Field, emotions of sadness and remembrance were also in the hearts of everyone involved, as the men’s lacrosse team welcomed Binghamton back to Cornell for the first time since the tragic passing of George Boiardi ’04.
“There was definitely a different atmosphere,” said senior co-captain Kyle Georgalas. “There were more emotions going through our heads than there normally are.”
Yet despite all those emotions, the game went on. And so the Red (2-1) defeated Binghamton (0-3), 12-5, behind four goals and two assists from junior Joe Boulukos.
“[Boulukos] was fantastic today,” said Cornell head coach Jeff Tambroni. “He almost single-handedly jump-started our offense.”
Boulukos began the scoring just over a minute into the game, as he fired a shot past Binghamton goalie Kevin McKeown to put the Red up 1-0. Cornell’s next goal came from the stick of senior Justin Redd — his first of the season — to give give the Red a two-goal cushion.
For most of the first period the Bearcats were stagnant offensively because of turnovers and a lack of success on faceoffs. Yet the team finally got on track late in the quarter, as Matt McNamara one-timed a pass from teammate Jeff Santucci into the net, and Phil Cavallo scored on an assist from Stephen Smith on an extra-man opportunity, to even the score at two.
But Binghamton’s run would be short-lived, as Boulukos ended the quarter much like he began it — with a goal — to put the Red up for good. This time around, he had help from senior Sean Greenhalgh, who finished the game with a goal and three assists. The Red again opened a two-goal lead minutes later, as Boulukos found senior Kevin Nee coming across the middle, who then promptly ripped a shot over McKeown’s shoulder.
The goal was one of many during the game that displayed how well the Red offense was clicking, according to Boulukos.
“I think the offense was working really well together,” he said. “When we get a group effort like that, we are going to be successful as a team.”
The Red had even more success in the second half, as it outscored Binghamton 7-2 after the break, including a stretch of four unanswered goals to end the game.
The run was a complete team effort, as six different players scored the seven goals, including junior Derek Haswell and sophomore Henry Bartlett, who each scored their first points of the season with a third-quarter goal.
Bartlett’s goal came on a shot as he was falling down in front of the Bearcat net, and gave the Red a 7-4 lead before another Greenhalgh pass was converted to a Boulukos goal to put Cornell up by four.
Binghamton made a last-ditch effort, as Santucci whacked the ball in after receiving an awkward pass through traffic from Cavallo, who was in the process of getting hit from behind. But that goal — which ended the third quarter — also ended the scoring for the Bearcats.
In the fourth quarter, the Red came out on fire, scoring three goals — from the sticks of Greenhalgh, Redd, and junior defensive midfielder Dave Bush — in just over a two-minute span, prompting Binghamton head coach Ed Stephenson to pull McKeown.
“Their pressure and athleticism … got to us,” he said.
Fittingly, it was yet another Greenhalgh to Boulukos score — the third such goal of the game — that ended the scoring, and gave the Red an emotional 12-5 win.
After the game though, nobody spoke of wins and losses. They were talking about emotions. Not just feelings of sadness and remembrance — but also perseverance and persistence, which were words used to describe senior Kyle Miller, who, after overcoming a battle with a rare bone cancer, saw action in a game for the first time since his freshman year.
“With about five minutes to go, I looked at him and he gave me a look as if to say, ‘I’m ready to go,'” Tambroni said. “It was very inspirational to see him out there.”
Inspiration was another emotion that Tambroni said he felt because of the Binghamton team paying tribute to Boiardi by wearing his No. 21 on their helmets.
“I saw that, and thought, ‘what a classy move,'” he said.
Archived article by hris Mascaro
Sun Sports Editor