The early afternoon in Ithaca on Saturday was ominous — the weather was bleak and the No. 10 men’s lacrosse team found itself down 3-0 against an upset-minded Penn squad just over five minutes into the game.
Despite the fact that the weather remained poor throughout the day, the Red (4-2, 2-0 Ivy) picked up its play and defeated the Quakers (1-7, 0-3), 15-6, on a wet Schoellkopf Field. Cornell outscored Penn 9-1 in the second half, and was led by four players who all recorded hat tricks — junior Joe Boulukos, and seniors Justin Redd, Kevin Nee, and Sean Greenhalgh. In net, sophomore Matt McMonagle shook off a shaky start to record 17 saves.
But it was not all smooth sailing for the Red, as the Quakers, the only Ivy team to defeat Cornell last season, got off to a fast start, scoring three goals in the first 5:06 of the game.
“They circled us on the schedule and they were really raring to go today,” Greenhalgh said.
Penn midfielder D.J. Andrzejewski, an All-Ivy honorable mention pick a season ago, started the scoring in the game after scooping up a rebound and finding the back of the net on an out-of-place McMonagle with 12:57 left in the first quarter. Andrzejewski was part of Penn’s second goal as well, finding David Cornbrooks from behind the net, who promptly fired a shot to the side of McMonagle’s right leg that found the goal. Then with 9:54 remaining in th first, Penn took a three-goal lead on another Cornbrooks goal, this time on a feed from Max Mauro. Yet, according to Redd, Penn’s 3-0 lead was more a product of the Cornell’s ineptitude on offense more than anything.
“We were rushing our possessions and not getting ground balls,” Redd said. “They are real ball-control oriented, so we were just playing right into their hands.”
Yet after the initial Quaker attack, the Red settled down and went on a run of its own. Boulukos used a great individual effort, as he ripped a shot with a defender in his face, to beat Quaker goalie Dennis Cole with 6:21 left in the first quarter. Just under five minutes later, the Red used a little luck to score its second goal as Redd attempted to throw a pass behind the net that found its way into the goal.
In the second quarter, Boulukos, who tallied two assists to go along with his three goals, found Nee who promptly took the low pass, jumped up, and shot over a defender to pull the Red even two minutes into the second frame.
After another Andrzejewski goal, Greenhalgh fired two shots from very difficult angles that found their way into the net, with the second giving Cornell its first lead of the game with 3:04 left in the half at 5-4.
“I think you have to expect your better players to make those kinds of plays,” Cornell head coach Jeff Tambroni said. “When your offense isn’t playing so well, you just have to look to those players and say, ‘you have to go make plays.'”
One of those players — Boulukos — made a play for the Red with just 19 seconds left in the half, as he took a feed from sophomore Brian Clayton and put the ball just under the top post to give the Red a lead heading into the locker room.
When the team came out for the second half, it was all Cornell, as the squad rattled off seven unanswered goals before Cornbrooks tallied his third goal on the day with 4:26 left in the game.
The third period started with one of the most improbable goals in any lacrosse game. After falling down while scooping up a rebound, Greenhalgh whipped a shot from his back that trickled past the Penn netminder for a goal.
“That’s just one of those things where the ball scooted out and I just grabbed it and then I threw it,” Greenhalgh said. “And then I look up and Joe Boulukos is like, ‘oh man, that was sick.'”
The goal sparked the Cornell offense, as freshman John Glynn earned his first career point on an assist to senior Ian Rosenberger to put the Red up by three soon thereafter.
The next goal for the Red was tallied by Nee, who put a low shot into the net off a pass from sophomore Henry Bartlett on a man-advantage situation. The Red went 2-for-2 on with an extra man when Boulukos found Redd with 5:28 left in the fourth quarter.
Before that tally, Redd earned points on the last goal of the third quarter, with an unassisted goal, and then on the first two Cornell goals of the fourth quarter, on assists to Nee and Boulukos.
The Red took an eight and then a nine goal lead on goals from sophomore David Mitchell on an assist to Bartlett with 2:43 left and then freshman Drew Webb’s first career goal, which came unassisted with 1:36 remaining.
For the game, McMonagle stopped 17 shots, while senior Kyle Miller tallied three saves, keeping the Quakers off the board for the final 2:43 of the game.
Archived article by Chris Mascaro
Sun Sports Editor