From 1966-82, Cornell men’s lacrosse went undefeated in Ivy League play 12 times, including a span from 1970-78 when the team was unblemished in the Ivies eight times in nine seasons.
Since then, the Red has gone undefeated in league play just once, in 1987. But that could all change tomorrow afternoon, as the No. 4 Red (8-2, 5-0 Ivy) travels to Providence, R.I., for its Ivy finale against No. 20 Brown (6-4, 2-2) at 1 p.m.
“Our guys are still hungry for more,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “They all made goals coming into this season, and being perfect in the Ivy League was one of them.”
However, regardless of the outcome against the Bears, Cornell has already clinched a spot in this year’s NCAA tournament as well as the Ivy League title. Yet, the team’s motivation at this point is to keep the momentum of its six-game winning streak going into the tournament, and a 6-0 Ivy slate.
“We talk about the history of Cornell lacrosse a lot,” Tambroni said. “To put our stamp on Cornell lacrosse, going 6-0 with all the parity in the Ivy League these days, is something very special.”
Brown comes into tomorrow’s game winners of three out of its last four, including a 14-6 trouncing of Hartford on Tuesday. In that game, attackman David Madeira scored a game-high three goals, two of which were on a man-advantage situation. Madeira has thrived on those opportunities this season, as he leads the Ivy League with eight man-up goals
. “We’re going to try to limit our fouls as much as we can because their man-up unit is so potent,” Tambroni said. “[Brown head coach Scott Nelson] is a master at those situations.”
The Red will also have to watch out for the Ivy League leader in assists, midfielder Kyle Wailes, whose game-high three helpers against Hartford to put his season total at 27 — 10 more than any other player in the league.
“Their top-6 guys are as talented as any team in the Ivy League,” Tambroni said. “They’re going to get their chances, but if we can limit them, it would be a big boost for our team.”
Despite the fact that Brown’s past three losses have all been to teams that the Red has defeated this season, the Bears were competitive in each. They lost a 9-8 decision at No. 7 Syracuse, a 12-11 battle at home against Yale, and its most recent defeat, an 11-9 thriller at No. 11 Dartmouth. Yet, Tambroni believes that the circumstances surrounding this game are much different than at any other point this season.
“We’re going to their facility on their Senior Day with them fighting for a playoff spot,” Tambroni said. “So I think they’re going to play with a lot more focus and a lot more attention to detail.”
Some of the success Brown has had thus far this season can partly be attributed to its solid goaltending by junior Nick Gentilesco who, through Brown’s first nine games, led the Ivy League goals against average (7.58), save percentage (.615), and saves per game (11) in his first season as the team’s starter.
“He’s done a fantastic job,” Tambroni said of Gentilesco. “Our shooters are going to have to shoot very selectively.”
Tambroni went on to say that the Red will try to take the mantra of quality over quantity in its shot selection, something that the team did not do in its win over Princeton last Saturday, as the team peppered the Tigers with 62 shots.
Archived article by Chris Mascaro
Sun Sports Editor