Although it earned a solid victory in its opening weekend of the regular season, the No. 8 Cornell men’s lacrosse team (1-0) will surely have an extremely difficult task tomorrow afternoon, when it faces No. 12 Notre Dame (0-1) in Lisle, Ill.
The Red is coming off a momentum-building, 16-3, win last weekend against local rival Binghamton at Schoellkopf Field. Cornell received an eight-goal performance by junior attack David Mitchell and a four-goal, two-assist showing by senior attack Derek Haswell. While the Red dominated the Bearcats in all aspects of the game last Saturday, Cornell head coach Jeff Tambroni is expecting a tough match up for his team tomorrow.
Tambroni said that he was pleased with his squad’s preparation in practice for the Fighting Irish and hopes this energy level will transfer to the game.
“There’s an urgency about our opponent, about playing a team like Notre Dame in Chicago. It’s exciting,” Tambroni said. “This is an opportunity for us to find out who we are. Notre Dame is going to be an extremely formidable opponent and we also know we have to play very well to have success.”
Notre Dame is coming off a season opening 8-4 win over No. 14 Penn State last weekend. In the defensive battle, the Fighting Irish had two goals each by Ryan Hoff and Peter Christman and are headed by second-team All-American Pat Walsh.
Tambroni, who watched the game, said that he was surprised by the low scoreline, but expects Notre Dame’s defense to play tough against the Red’s attacking trio of Mitchell, Haswell and junior Eric Pittard.
“This week, I know they were at the game last weekend, so I know they’ll have a good idea of [our strengths] and I’m sure they’ll have a game plan accordingly,” Tambroni said. “It’s just going to be a matter of seeing if our guys can do what they do and do it well.”
Protecting the Fighting Irish goal is sophomore goalie Joey Kemp, who was the 2005 Great Western Lacrosse League Rookie of the Year and lead the nation with a .652 save percentage.
Kemp made 13 saves against the Nittany Lions last weekend.
On the defensive side for the Red, the team was not tested too much during its game against the Bearcats.
The starting defensive unit, which is led by a relatively inexperienced trio of senior Mike Pisco, junior Mitch Belisle and sophomore Danny Nathan, did well according to Tambroni. However, Walsh – who scored 21 goals and notched 22 assists last season – along with the rest of the Fighting Irish will prove to be a stern test.
“I think [our defensive unit has] been really good,” Tambroni said.
“They were challenged to a certain degree, not so much statistically. I think the shot [statistics] are a little misleading