Spring Break comes at a perfect time for the men’s lacrosse team, taking away the distractions of classes and tests and allowing the No. 5 Red to focus solely on the biggest games of its young season. In the next week, the Red will face a rematch against No. 3 Duke – the team that eliminated Cornell from the 2005 NCAA tournament – in Durham, N.C., on Wednesday, and then will return to Schoellkopf Field to host Yale a week from tomorrow in its first step towards defending its 2005 Ivy League title.
“We’re definitely more focused,” said senior attack Derek Haswell after the Red’s 12-3 victory over Lehigh on Wednesday. “This is, to date, our biggest week of practice coming up. We mentioned that going into the huddle after the game – as soon as the game was over we were talking about Duke.”
The Blue Devils are 4-1 this season, with their lone defeat an overtime, 7-8, loss to No. 1 Maryland on March 4.
A veteran frontline made up of seniors Matt Danowski, Dan Flannery, and Zack Greer leads the way for the Blue Devils. The trio had a cumulative 157 goals last season and has already notched 30 tallies this season as Duke has outscored opponents by a 75-15 margin. Goaltender Dan Loftus has held opponents to 3.41 goals and earned a .767 save percentage.
“I don’t know if anybody matches up with Duke all that well, they have so much talent up and down the field. I just think if it comes down to individuals, I certainly give Duke the advantage,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “But if it comes down to team play and the ability to play together – I’m hoping that’s the way our guys approach this contest and go out there and focus … and put all our efforts into having success.”
The Red claimed its first outright conference crown since 1987 with a perfect, 6-0, league mark last season, and will be in the hunt for at least a share of the league title for the fourth year in a row when it faces Yale (2-2) a week from tomorrow.
“Every Ivy league game is huge, because with lacrosse we only get one chance at each team. We understand that we were fortunate to go 6-0 last year and that every team is going to be gunning for us this year,” said junior goaltender Matt McMonagle. “We have to work extra hard, and we respect every one of our opponents.”
Yale will arrive in Ithaca after opening its 2006 league slate against Princeton (4-0) tomorrow in New Haven, Conn.
“This stretch is going to be important for our team,” Haswell said. “It’s something we’re really excited for, we’re really looking forward to, and I can confidently say that our team is gung-ho and focused.”
Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Sports Editor