February 12, 2007

M. Lax Scrimmages Loyola

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When the men’s lacrosse team took the field on Saturday afternoon for an exhibition match against Loyola, the weather was more typical of a bobsled race than a lacrosse match. Despite the freezing conditions, Cornell was able to beat Loyola in its first home game and the second of three exhibitions games it will play this season. There was no official score or statistics.

Unofficially, senior David Mitchell started right where he left off last year, when he led the team in scoring. Mitchell paced the Red, scoring three goals. Junior John Espey also notched a pair of scores. Among the other Cornell scorers were sophomore George Calvert, classmate Chris Finn and senior Eric Pittard.
[img_assist|nid=21298|title=Hang on|desc=The men’s lacrosse team faced Loyola on Saturday in its first home scrimmage of the season, and second of three games before the regular season begins.|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=86]

“It is a step forward from last week and where we were in the fall,” said senior Matt Robbins. “It is still a work in progress because our first game is still in a couple of weeks. We are more concerned about how we are playing as a team. Overall, it was a good effort. There are definitely a lot of things we can work on though.”

As in last week’s scrimmage with Drexel, the teams played a standard four-quarter game followed by an extra 20-minute period in order to give playing time to all the players.

“There were a lot of kids who did not play during the first four quarters,” said senior Matt Robbins. “We wanted to give them a chance to get some playing experience. We can do that because there are really no regulations about scrimmages. … We have 45 guys, so not everyone is going to play on every given day. We wanted to get everyone on the field.”

The weather was colder than usual for a lacrosse game. According to the national weather service, the temperature for the game ranged from 19 to 21 degrees, with constant windy conditions. The cold did not bother Cornell though.

“We practice in it every day, so we are used to it,” Robbins said. “A couple of Loyola guys were complaining about the weather though.”

On defense, the Red was mostly able to stop the Greyhounds’ offensive attack, forcing a few failure-to-advance violations. In goal, senior Matt McMonagle was happy with his performance.

“I felt good,” McMonagle said. “[Loyola] did not have one of their better middies, and I think that kind of affected them a little bit. On the other hand, we gave up some shots that we did not want to give up, and I didn’t make all the saves that I could have made. I think we are building though, and this is a good step along the way.”

The team also felt that the exhibition was a step in the right direction after being disappointed in its performance after last week’s exhibition against Drexel.

“It was a lot better this week as opposed to last week, after getting an entire week of practice under our belts,” McMonagle said. “Obviously, we still have a lot to work on, but I think that there were a couple bright spots offensively and defensively throughout the game, and that shows that we have to keep working and we can do O.K. this year.”