March 2, 2007

Lacrosse Teams to Battle Fighting Irish

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Even though the men’s lacrosse team will play its first road game of the season tomorrow afternoon, the game will be a homecoming for one member of the No. 4 Cornell squad. The game, which is against No. 8 Notre Dame, will be held at a neutral site in Hewlett, N.Y., the hometown of sophomore Max Seibald.

[img_assist|nid=21802|title=On the attack.|desc=Sophomore attacker John Espey (9) and the men’s lacrosse team, ranked No. 4 in the nation, will travel to Hewlett, N.Y., to face No. 8 Notre Dame tomorrow.|link=node|align=left|width=100|height=82]

“I have friends, family and everyone that I know from my town who will be there,” Seibald said. “It will be a great environment. It is not a big venue; I think it only holds about 2,000 people, but there will be a lot of people that I know cheering us on.”

The game will be played at Hewlett High School, which will be the only chance this season for both teams to play a game on Long Island.

“I think that both [Cornell head] coach [Jeff] Tambroni and the Notre Dame coach realized that traveling from Cornell to Notre Dame and Notre Dame back to Cornell is not an easy trip to make,” Seibald said. “They wanted to capitalize on possibly playing in an area that is a lacrosse powerhouse like Long Island. I guess there were no other fields available, and my high school is one of the few on the island that has the new FieldTurf, so I guess they just wanted a good surface to play on.”

Cornell (2-0, 0-0 Ivy) will look to keep up the momentum from Tuesday’s 16-6 victory over Colgate at home. Senior Eric Pittard led the Red with four goals and two assists, and junior John Glynn added five points of his own. Seibald notched two goals and an assist to help Cornell. Sophomore Tommy Schmicker also scored his first two career goals in the victory. Despite the win, the Red knows that it can improve for tomorrow’s match.

“We thought we did a decent job in the second and third quarters [against Colgate] of creating transition … but if you take [Schmicker’s] goals out of there, which were off face offs, we were probably 1-of-7 in transition,” Tambroni said. “We want to create more … we missed a couple of opportunities because we just threw the ball away. … The good part is that we are getting out from our defense to our offensive end; the bad part is that we are not handling the ball in being a little more economical on the offensive end.”

Notre Dame (2-0, 0-0 GWLL) is led by senior Brian Hubschmann, who scored a team-high 31 goals last year and was named first-team All-GWLL. The attackman, who missed the entire 2005 season to injury, already has five goals so far this year. Junior Michael Podgajny has also gotten off to a fast start for the Irish, recording a team-high seven points. Cornell will also have to deal with freshman Will Yeatman, who has recorded three goals and a team-high three assists on the season. The rookie also plays tight end on the Notre Dame football team.

In goal, Notre Dame boasts junior Joey Kemp, who was named first-team All-GWLL last season after starting all 15 games and posting a 7.54 goals against average and a .596 save percentage. His save percentage was good for eighth in the nation. Already this season, he has put up a 7.15 goals against average and a .588 save percentage.

“Offensively, we have to do a little better job of playing team offense,” Tambroni said. “But hopefully … [in our] preparation for Notre Dame, we will have a chance to do that.”

Notre Dame is coming off of an 11-8 victory over Penn State and looks to begin its season with a 3-0 record for the first time since 2003. The Irish will also try and beat the Red for the first time in five tries.
“We have definitely improved greatly since we first started [this season],” Seibald said. “We gained experience and we feel like we have taken some steps in the right direction. We think that with this week in preparation, we will be ready against Notre Dame.”

Last year, Cornell topped Notre Dame by a score of 9-6. In that game, senior David Mitchell and Pittard recorded three points apiece. Joe Boulukos ‘06 tallied three goals to lead the Red. Senior co-captain Matt McMonagle made 12 saves to preserve the victory.