After suffering its lone defeat of 2006 at the hands of Penn on April 1, the men’s lacrosse team came to practice each day this week with the resolve to play smarter and harder when it traveled to Cambridge, Mass., to take on Harvard this past Saturday. Practice paid off, as the No. 5 Red used a 7-0 scoring run over two quarters to earn a 10-3 win over the Crimson in front of a 1,500-plus crowd at Johnson Field on Saturday.
“I think our staff felt we were a little bit more focused in practice,” head coach Jeff Tambroni said. “There was a little bit more conviction and urgency, which led to a little bit more competition in practice, which I think we’ve been lacking in the last couple of weeks.”
“We didn’t play too hard or too together against Penn. We wanted to come out and fix that [against Harvard],” said senior co-captain Joe Boulukos.
Boulukos helped ignite the Red (7-1, 2-1 Ivy) on the offensive end, scoring three goals. His hat trick was matched by freshman Max Seibald, who added an assist to lead Cornell with four points on the day. Senior Derek Haswell contributed two goals and two assists for four points of his own, while juniors Casey Lewis and Eric Pittard each added a goal and an assist.
Senior Mike Pisco provided the spark on the defensive end, picking up a career-high 10 ground balls for Cornell, as well as earning a point on offense with his first assist of the 2006 campaign.
“We were asking our seniors to all step up and lead that charge, and he did a great job of stepping up,” Tambroni said.
Evan Calvert tallied two goals in a losing effort for the Crimson (4-3, 1-1), and Greg Cohen added a single marker for Harvard.
Junior Matt McMonagle had a season-high 14 saves for the Red in goal. Evan O’Donnell and Joe Pike shared netminding duties for Harvard, and each allowed five goals and made four saves.
The Red held an edge in shots, 33-28, while the Crimson picked up more ground balls, edging the visitors, 38-32, on the stat sheet. Harvard held an edge in face offs, as John Henry claimed 10-of-17 for the Crimson. Cornell converted on both of its extra-man opportunities, while Harvard scored on just one-of-three man-advantage situations.
Cornell opened the scoring with just 1:17 gone in the contest, as Haswell found the back of the net off a pass from Pisco. Calvert evened the score at 1-1 when he scored his first goal of the day for Harvard four minutes later. The exchange continued, as Lewis put Cornell ahead with an unassisted goal with 5:17 left in the first quarter, answered by a goal from Cohen with 2:43 remaining off a failed clear attempt by the Red.
Boulukos notched the go-ahead tally with 29 seconds left in the opening stanza, scoring an unassisted goal to put Cornell ahead for good.
The Red settled down and began to execute its game plan in the second quarter, as the offense exploded for seven unanswered goals over the next two quarters.
“We were kind of knocking on the door a little bit, and the way the defense was playing we felt confident we’d have a lot of opportunities,” Boulukos said. “We kept plugging away on the offensive end and the ball started going in. … We had opportunities early and didn’t captialize on them.”
On another failed clear, this time in the Harvard defensive end, Haswell scrambled for the ball and passed off to Pittard, who found the back of the net with 10:14 left in the second quarter. Haswell added another helper less than three minutes later, this time handing off to Seibald for a score to give Cornell a 5-2 advantage at the halftime break.
“We wanted to go in there and make Harvard earn every shot,” Tambroni said. “We tried to keep it looser on the sidelines than it was in the Penn game. I think we all got a little tight at the first sign of adversity against Penn [and] I don’t think we responded very well.”
Seibald and Boulukos continued to evade the Crimson defense throughout the third quarter, accounting for all four Cornell goals in the frame. After Calvert was handed a 25-second penalty for being offsides, the Red went on the extra-man opportunity and Seibald scoring just 15 seconds later off a pass from junior David Mitchell.
Boulukos scored twice more, before and after an unassisted goal by Seibald, to push the Red’s lead to 9-2 at the end of the third quarter. Mitchell and Seibald assisted on Boulukos’ second and third goal, respectively.
“I think we shot the ball pretty well as a unit,” Boulukos said. “Max played very well, he was dodging well and had some good shots. I think we knew their goaltenders very well and their strengths and weaknesses.”
Harvard added a final, futile goal in the fourth quarter, as Calvert converted on a man-advantage play with 10:56 left on the clock to make the score 9-3. The Red defense prevented a late rally, however, and Haswell pushed Cornell’s final total to double digits when he scored off a pass from Pittard with 3:31 remaining in the game.
“We were still disappointed with the way we finished the game,” Tambroni said. “We had the opportunity to finish it in the last few minutes and we felt like Harvard finished it harder than we did.”
Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Sports Editor