NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The number 13 proved to be lucky for the men’s lacrosse team Saturday afternoon as it topped Yale, 19-8, in its first Ivy League game of the season. Cornell utilized a 13-0 run that stretched from halfway through the first quarter to the end of the second quarter to propel itself to victory. It was the second time the Red scored 19 goals in a game this year after a 19-4 win over Binghamton on Feb. 24.
Cornell’s offense (6-0, 1-0 Ivy) was paced by senior Eric Pittard, who notched four goals while classmate David Mitchell scored three. The Red also dominated the ground balls count, holding a 42-19 edge, which senior co-captain Mitch Belisle credited as the key to victory.
“A big part of it was picking up ground balls,” Belisle said. “We began to knock down a lot of their passes and defend well and getting our clear in order, and we starting clicking with the ‘O.’ They started playing great and putting the ball in the net.”
Cornell improved on its 4-of-15 face-off mark in its 7-6 win over Duke on Tuesday and went 16-of-28 at the face-off “X” against Yale (3-2, 0-2). Sophomore Tommy Schmicker went 10-of-16 and junior John Glynn won 3-of-6 draws.
“[Glynn] is our second face-off guy,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “He did a great job down in Duke. Tommy was struggling a little bit early, and John provided wonderful backup, and that calmed Tommy down a little bit.”
Cornell started off the scoring early when Schmicker won the face-off and passed it to Belisle on the wing. The defenseman found Mitchell streaking towards the goal and Mitchell beat Yale goalie George Carafides to give the Red an early lead.
A minute later, Yale junior Kyle Washabaugh rifled a low shot that found its way past Cornell senior goaltender Matt McMonagle to tie the game at one. The Bulldogs took the lead in the ensuing minute when sophomore James Ryan III intercepted a pass on a failed Red clear, then beat McMonagle 1-on-1, giving Yale its only lead of the game.
“We were fortunate to come out of there being down 2-1,” Tambroni said. “Then we were able to claw our way back in, and then the momentum started going our way after that.”
Cornell tied the game halfway through the first quarter on a goal by Pittard. Three minutes later, sophomore George Calvert found Mitchell to the goalie’s left, and the attackman put it past Carafides to give Cornell the lead. Glynn finished the scoring in the first to give the Red a two-goal advantage.
“I didn’t think we were making a whole lot of intelligent plays out there early, which is a credit to the Yale coaches and players, but then our guys settled down a little bit,” Tambroni said. “In the early going, it was a slower-paced game, but at about seven or eight minutes [in the first], we picked things up, which went to our advantage.”
Senior Casey Lewis, sophomore Max Seibald and senior Brian Clayton added tallies in the beginning of the second to extend Cornell’s lead. With 9:30 left in the second quarter, Glynn found Pittard, who fought off his defender in front of the goal. The attackman’s ensuing score gave Cornell an 8-2 lead. The Red extended its lead when sophomore Chris Finn found sophomore Rocco Romero streaking towards the cage. Romero pounded it past the goaltender for the score.
“Offensively, we started to settle down,” Pittard said. “Between the 20s and 30s we picked up more ground balls, and defensively we made more stops.”
Halfway through the second quarter, Yale pulled Carafides and inserted junior Joe Costa in the game. Costa did not fare much better though, as Pittard scored on a man-advantage to extend Cornell’s lead. Junior John Espey was the next Red player to score, as he ran around the goal and shot it past Costa. Senior Henry Bartlett, Romero and sophomore Christian Pastirik added tallies for Cornell before Yale finally broke the 13-0 run with 1 second left in the first half. Senior Chris Kempner threw towards the goal, but the ball was deflected by McMonagle, and junior Tyler Casertano was able to put the deflection into the cage golf-style to break the run, and make the score 14-3 at the half.
“[Cornell was] great; they completely dominated the game,” said Yale head coach Andy Shay. “I wasn’t happy with the day at all; it’s been a bad day. They got saves that we didn’t get. Cornell’s goalie is an All-American, and ours wasn’t very good today.”
At the beginning of the second, Cornell picked up right where it left off as Schmicker took the opening face-off and found Belisle on the wing. The defender ran down the field and beat Costa for his first career goal. Pittard scored his fourth goal of the game three minutes later, and Clayton and Mitchell added tallies to give Cornell an 18-3 lead at the end of the third period.
“That was a game plan decision for the match up on the wing,” Belisle said. “I played offensively middie in high school, so it was good to be back down [on the offensive end].”
In the fourth, Cornell put most of its reserves in while Yale kept its first line in the game. The Bulldogs got three goals from freshman Brendan Gibson, Castertano notched his second score and Jonathan Koenig scored his first to add to Yale’s tally. Cornell junior Mike Corbolotti scored his first career goal for the Red during the period.
“We were excited that [the reserves] had a chance to get in there,” Tambroni said. “I don’t think we carried the momentum through the fourth quarter like we would have hoped, but those guys were sitting on the bench for 45 minutes, and it is a tough task and a tall order for those guys to go out there.”