The Red stepped onto the turf on Saturday looking to avenge a loss on Army’s home field last season, and did so in resounding fashion, with seven different players making their way into the scoring column in a 13-1 win over the Black Knights. It was the first time in three decades that a Cornell squad held an opponent to a single goal.
“We were just trying to think a lot about last year,” said junior Ethan Vedder, who scored his first career goal against the Black Knights. “We didn’t put forth the effort that we needed to put against a team as good as Army. Today we knew we needed to put in a lot more effort, a lot more energy, to stay with them and I think we did come out a lot better on game day this year than we did last year.”
The Cornell (3-0) squad found extra motivation in playing for the Class of 2005, several members of which were in the stands for the game and were recognized at halftime.
Junior David Mitchell led the way for the home team, tallying three goals on the day. Freshman Max Seibald added two markers in a supporting effort, while senior Dave Bush, juniors Henry Bartlett, Brian Clayton, Casey Lewis, and Vedder all found the back of the net as well. The freshman class also had a hand in the scoring bonaza, as Chris Finn, Kyle Doctor and Rocco Romero each scored one goal for the Red. Junior Eric Pittard led Cornell with a trio of assists, and junior netminder Matt McMonagle was called upon for just seven saves in the win.
“[It was] nice to see some of our younger guys play and play well,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “We put up 13 goals against a decent defensive team without [senior] Joe Boulukos’ production. That was great, we’ve talked about that in practice, that we needed more production from the guys around him.”
Jon Burton recorded the lone goal for Army (1-3), assisted by Mike Obringer. Adam Fullerton took the loss in goal for the Knights, giving up 11 goals and recording seven saves. Eddie Clark and Nick LoRusso also saw time in the cage for Army, with LoRusso making one save and allowing two goals.
Cornell held a significant edge on Army in shots (49-13), ground balls (44-27), and won 10-of-17 face offs. The Red was successful on 21-of-23 clear attempts, while the Black Knights completed 17-of-21 clears. Only two penalties were called during the game, with Cornell finding itself in man-advantage situations twice and scoring one goal with the numbers advantage.
Although Cornell was without injured junior attack Derek Haswell, a varied cast of characters proved able to step up and replace the offensive production he has provided for the Red this season.
“We moved the ball really unselfishly,” Pittard said. “Without Derek Haswell today I really thought some guys stepped it up.”
Lewis opened the scoring at the 11:07 mark of the first quarter with an unassisted goal from 10 yards out. Haswell doubled up for the Red with 5:57 left in the quarter, using a series of spin moves on the right side of the goal to evade Army defenders and then slotting a low shot past Fullerton.
The Black Knights rallied minutes later, as Burton cut the Red’s lead to one with 1:42 left in the frame, breaking free from Cornell defenders and scoring on McMonagle with a shot to the lower right side of the cage. Clayton answered for Cornell less than 40 seconds later, receiving a pass from sophomore John Espey and rocketing home a shot to send the Red into the break with a 3-1 advantage. The Red limited the Black Knights’ scoring opportunities down the stretch, holding them scoreless over the final 46 minutes of play. Army’s primary offensive option, preseason All-American John Walker, also suffered an injury in the first quarter and appeared to be at less than full strength for the remainder of the game.
“It was great to see that we didn’t play that much in our end. The attack had it for a long time and really controlled the pace of the game,” Vedder said. “I think it’s also a good testament to [junior] Mitch Belisle, who was on [Walker], that whenever Walker wanted to step up and try to take him, Mitch was there with his good, solid defense.”
Cornell’s attack wasted no time making its mark in the second quarter, with Mitchell finding the net with just 2:14 into the frame to put the Red up, 4-1. Pittard earned his first assist of the day after scooping up a ground ball in the left corner, running behind the goal and dishing to Mitchell, who was cutting in from the right side and one-timed the ball into the back of the net.
The Red’s next goal came on the man-advantage after Army’s Ryan Chase was charged with slashing. Pittard once again provided a helping hand, setting up Mitchell for his third goal of the day with 5:45 left in the second quarter and giving the Red a 5-1 edge at the break.
Paul Wigzinski was called for slashing with 21 seconds left in the first half, allowing Cornell to step onto the field after halftime with another man-advantage situation on its hands. It took the Red just 26 seconds to capitalize, as Seibald took a pass from Pittard and converted it to a goal to stretch the home team’s lead to 6-1. Seibald added to the lead just under four minutes later, driving home an unassisted goal from 15 yards out.
Taking to heart the adage that the best offense is a good defense, Cornell’s next goal started with a pass from McMonagle. The netminder found Vedder open in the midfield, and passed it to him to start the transition offense. Vedder carried the ball 50 yards down the field to just outside the opposing goalie’s crease, beating the Black Knight with a shot from the left side to make the score 8-1 and register his first career goal.
“I just started running towards the goal seeing if I could draw a man, but I kept looking like I was going to pass – I was ready to, I trust their shots better than mine,” Vedder said. “But in the end, no one slid to me. I felt a defender about to do a trail check, so I switched hands back to my strong hand and I just shot and I just waited for the net to move.”
Freshman Tommy Schmicker – who was 9-for-14 on faceoffs for the Red – took possession on the first faceoff of the final quarter and passed off to Bush, who beat his defender and found the back of the net before 10 seconds had elapsed in the frame.
Cornell would score four more times in the final frame, with Bartlett leading off by converting a pass from senior co-captain Joe Boulukos and scoring from the far left side of the field to make the score 10-1.
Romero scored next for the Red, taking a high pass from behind the goal from Finn out of midair and one-timing it into the back of the net. Finn got a goal of his own with 4:46 left on the clock, burying a shot from the left side through traffic.
Rookie Kyle Doctor was credited with the assist – and then scored the Red’s 13th and final goal of the game when he converted a pass from sophomore Tee Cahill with 2:01 remaining in the game.
“We’ll take it for what it’s worth. It’s an early-season win, which is great,” Tambroni said. “I don’t know if we’re overly excited about the outcome of the actual score as much as we’re just excited that we can just move on [and] we’re 3-0, 2-0 at home, all which are good things, and we were able to avenge a loss from last year.”
Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Sports Editor