It was a gun-slinging duel between two of the top men’s lacrosse teams in the nation last night at Schoellkopf Field, as No. 4 Cornell and No. 12 Syracuse closely traded jabs for 60 minutes. However, when the dust settled, a Patrick Perritt goal with 48 seconds left in regulation sealed a 12-11 Orange win over the Red.
On Perritt’s goal, the freshman streaked left and on his strong hand, fired a shot down low that beat junior goaltender Matt McMonagle. Cornell (7-2, 2-1 Ivy) frantically tried to tie the game up, but senior co-captain Joe Boulukos and classmate Derek Haswell couldn’t get a shot past Syracuse netminder Peter Coluccini in the match’s remaining moments.
“We had a chance to tie it up in the end, and that’s all you can ask,” said Cornell head coach Jeff Tambroni. “We had the right people with the ball at the right times and we didn’t make plays. I would say more often than not, those guys are going to make plays in the future.”
Freshman Max Seibald notched a career-high five points with three goals and two assists. Junior David Mitchell also recorded a hat trick, while Boulukos, who scored seven goals and added an assist during Cornell’s 16-14 win over Syracuse at the Carrier Dome last year, had four points off a pair of goals and two assists last night.
It was a see-saw battle for most of the game, with the Red ahead 7-6 going into the fourth quarter. Typical of the encounter’s flow, however, attackman Brett Bucktooth, who along with Perritt had a hat trick, tied the game up after finding himself open by the net and slotting it in on a Brian Crockett feed.
The teams split the next four goals, but Syracuse stormed ahead with 9:28 left. Perritt dodged around his defender and ripped a shot past McMonagle to make it 10-9. Thirty-three seconds later, Mike Leveille picked the ball up after a scrum in the midfield and took advantage of a wide-open 2-on-1 chance by dumping it into the back of the cage.
“I think they got some very good athletes and I think our defense played very well as a whole, but they just maybe had an extra step in the fourth quarter – I don’t mean that by we were tired – but I think they made a couple of adjustments and we didn’t react as we could’ve,” McMonagle said.
Cornell would get back into the game with two consecutive goals of its own. First, Seibald dodged past a pair of Orange defensemen before finding Mitchell, who slammed it home from inside five yards. Less than two minutes later, Boulukos, who was double-teamed for parts of the night, found an open man in junior Brian Clayton. Clayton aimed and ripped it past Coluccini, tying the game at 11 with 3:48 to play.
“It does a number on you ,especially as a defense,” Coluccini said about the back-and-forth nature of the contest. “You think you’re up and then you’re tied and then you’re down. We just hung in there though and got the ‘W.’ That’s what mattered in the end.”
What hurt Cornell towards the end of the evening was its inability to win face-offs – something it has traditionally struggled with in years past. On the night, Cornell was 11-for-26 and lost a pair of crucial decisions in the game’s remaining moments. Boulukos individually won 10-of-16 draws, but Tambroni said that it gets tiring for his star player to both be a pillar of the offense while taking face-offs throughout the game.
“We’re not very good there, period,” Tambroni said. “We’re working, we’re working, I give my guys credit, they work their tails off everyday … I felt that tonight, there were a couple of face-offs that we were competing for and didn’t win that may have changed the complexion of the game.”
Earlier in the contest, it seemed as if Syracuse (4-4) might run away with it. Stingy defense and steady goaltending by Coluccini against an initially stifled Cornell offense helped give Syracuse an early advantage. Orange attack Joe Yevoli had a hand in the visitors’ first three goals. First, Yevoli went around the left post and shot it past McMonagle from an acute angle 4:07 into the game. Yevoli then had a hand in finding Bucktooth twice within the next five minutes, staking Syracuse a 3-0 lead.
“I thought early, we got some face-offs and we were able to get the ball to our offense,” said Syracuse head coach John Desko. “I thought Joe Yevoli was big early, dodging and we created some offense with that.”
However, the Red clawed its way back into the game as late goals from Haswell and Seibald made the score, 3-2, after 15 minutes.
McMonagle was the star of the second quarter. With 9:15 left in the period, McMonagle made a spectacular close-range stop on Matt Abbott before holding on to a Perritt bullet less than a minute and a half later. While he did not stop any shots in the first, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Week made eight of his 10 saves in the second.
“He had my number today,” said Leveille, who scored two goals but was stuffed on a couple of occasions. “He’s a good goalie, he made a bunch of stops and he kept them in there in the beginning I think.”
Boulukos tied the game up at 3 after deking around his defender and blasting a shot down-low past Coluccini. Though Kenny Mims handed the Orange the lead less than three minutes later, Seibald notched his second with 1:07 to go. After Boulukos, who had the ball, was pushed down by a Syracuse defenseman, the senior found Seibald, who rifled a shot from less than 15 yards out.
McMonagle ensured that the Orange would not go into the intermission with the lead when he made a stellar, close-range block on a Leveille attempt before the attackman shot his second chance high.
Although the teams went into the break in a 4-4 deadlock, the Orange had most of the possession not only in the opening 30 minutes but throughout the game with their un-Syracuse-like restrained tempo in the offensive third.
“We didn’t have the ball a whole lot tonight, certainly not in the first half, and it came back and bit us in the end,” Tambroni said. “We just didn’t have enough time or didn’t make enough plays in the end because of it, and it cost us the victory.”
Archived article by Brian Tsao
Sun Senior Writer