Coming off a 15-6 drubbing of Yale last weekend, the men’s lacrosse team hopes to earn its second league victory of the season and exact revenge after a tough defeat last year when it hosts Penn (1-6, 0-2 Ivy) at 12 p.m. tomorrow in Schoellkopf Field.
With mixed results so far this year, No. 10 Cornell (3-2, 1-0 Ivy) put up a quality performance on both sides of the field against the Bulldogs. The Red forced Yale into making 29 turnovers on the defensive end and seven different players found the back of the cage for Cornell in the win.
Reflecting on last weekend’s victory, Cornell head coach Jeff Tambroni said that while his team has been playing well in spurts all year, this was the first time where his squad performed more fluidly as one unit.
“It seemed like we were working well from defense to offense, offense to defense, and I think in the last couple of games, we’ve started to generate more of the effort stats that we’ve been preaching throughout the season. I think that was the culmination of a lot of hard work from our guys,” Tambroni said.
Junior attackman Derek Haswell made a strong impression against Yale, scoring three goals, while senior Kevin Nee lead the team with four. Senior midfielder Justin Redd also had three assists and a tally of his own.
But the stars of the Yale game might have been the defensive midfield trio of juniors Dave Bush, Cameron Marchant and Mike Pisco, who all played key roles in stifling the Bulldogs’ attack. On the offensive end, Pisco also scored a goal, while Bush had a pair of assists last weekend.
“It’s such a big thing for our team if we can score goals in transition because it’s hard to rely on six-on-six offense to score all of your goals,” said junior midfielder Joe Boulukos. “Not only are they doing a good job of defending our guys, but they’re also doing a good job of sparking some offense for us.”
Tomorrow, Boulukos and his teammates will be faced with the challenge of beating the Quakers — a squad which handed the Red its only league defeat of the season a year ago. After falling to an 8-6 deficit with 7:43 left in regulation, Penn rallied and scored on its final four shots of the game to defeat Cornell in last season’s encounter.
Tambroni said that while the loss was difficult to take — especially since it halted a six-game winning streak by the Red — he felt, in retrospect, that the experience actually helped his team go onto winning the Ivy League title later in the year.
“I think our loss to Penn allowed us to have success against Princeton,” Tambroni said. “I think we really, to the credit of our team, learned a lot from that game. Whether you win or lose, it’s important to wipe the scoreboard clean and find out how you really played.”
Not that Cornell would want another loss to Penn tomorrow. While the Quakers have lost their last five games, most recently coming off on the wrong side of two 8-7 decisions against Harvard and Bucknell, Tambroni expects Penn to be extremely dangerous and determined.
Guiding the Penn attack will be Quaker junior D.J. Andrzejewski. Andrzejewski currently leads his team in goals and assists with 12 and five, respectively. Tambroni considers Andrzejewski as one of the best players in the Ivy League and the go-to-guy for the Quaker offense — especially in clutch situations.
“[Andrzejewski] gave us fits last year when we played them,” Tambroni said. “I think we’re going to have our hands full with him.”
In the attacking third, while the Red has been boosted by the fact that its scoring has been coming from many sources, Tambroni added that the team’s best players such as senior Sean Greenhalgh, Nee, Redd and Boulukos, will need to continue their consistency in putting up big scoring numbers.
“I think they’ve put themselves in that position, I think they demand that kind of respect from an opposing team’s defense, but I think they’ve proven over their time here that they’re capable of doing that,” Tambroni said.
Boulukos said that even though he felt that his squad played a more team-oriented game against Yale on both ends of the field, he added that the Red has to maintain a high level of intensity and concentration on the field if it wants to win.
“Our goal this week is to make sure our guys are hungry, if not hungrier, to go in there not only to even the score from last year’s defeat, but more importantly, to give ourselves a chance to go 2-0 in the Ivy League,” Tambroni said.
Archived article by Brian Tsao
Sun Assistant Sports Editor