In its first live action of the year since a heartbreaking loss in the quarterfinals of the NCAA championships in May, the men’s lacrosse team earned two victories against Hofstra and Hobart this past Sunday in the Algonquin Cup, played at Hofstra’s James H. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y.
According to Cornell head coach Jeff Tambroni, although the official season does not start until March, tournaments in the fall give the coaching staff a chance to evaluate the team and how it stacks up against other top programs.
Against Hobart, Tambroni, who was more concerned with his team’s play than the final score of the game, said he was pleased about the Red’s 13-5 win.
“Based on performance, after we watched the Hobart film, we felt OK about the way we played,” he said. “I thought we limited our mistakes and capitalized on some opportunities on both ends, which I thought was exciting to see especially with a younger group of guys going out on their first opportunity in competition.”
In the second game, Hofstra jumped out to a 3-1 lead early in the game before Cornell came back and tied it up at four going into halftime. The Red went on a 4-1 run after the break before Hofstra scored to make it 8-6 with 17 minutes left in the game. Cornell extended its lead to four with over nine minutes left in the game and survived a late-game Pride rally to take the encounter, 10-9.
While Cornell was able to earn its second win, Tambroni said that he was not necessarily thrilled with the team’s performance after reviewing it on tape.
“I felt like we gave up a lot of opportunities defensively and thankfully, either [junior goaltender] Matt [McMonagle] made big saves or Hofstra didn’t capitalize on their chances,” Tambroni said. “Offensively, I think we failed to capitalize on a number of good scoring opportunities with some older guys on the field, which was a little bit disappointing.”
Playing for the first time without some standout graduates including Sean Greenhalgh ’05, Justin Redd ’05 or Kyle Georgalas ’05 among others, Tambroni said that he has a lot of good players competing for open spots, but as opposed to previous years, less standout talent. Tambroni said his team has to work hard during the offseason to mesh and prove themselves both individually and as a unit.
“What separated us last year was in those brief moments when our system offensively or defensively broke down, we had certain individuals who could lift us out of that debris and allow it to just work,” Tambroni said. “I’m hoping with the graduation of so many guys, people overlook Cornell this year. I think we have guys who can definitely compete and play and keep us at the level we’ve been at for the past few years. I know that we’re a decent team by committee, but we can also be a very poor lacrosse team individually if we don’t allow each other to be good teammates.”
Duke, which knocked out the Red in last year’s national tournament, also went 2-0 on Sunday, while Stony Brook and St. John’s also participated in the six-team competition.
Archived article by Brian Tsao
Sun Assistant Sports Editor