April 6, 2007

M. Lacrosse Tussles With Rival Harvard

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Yesterday, the Major League Baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays was cancelled because of the cold. The No. 1 men’s lacrosse team will earn no such reprieve tomorrow when it hosts Harvard in cold and potentially snowy conditions, looking to remain undefeated.
Cornell (7-0, 2-0 Ivy) is coming off of a 20-5 victory over Penn last Saturday, the first time the Red reached the 20-goal plateau since 1998. Against the Quakers, senior David Mitchell scored five goals, classmate Henry Bartlett recorded four and sophomore Max Seibald notched three. Senior Eric Pittard also tallied two goals and five assists to help Cornell to victory. Despite the big win, the Red still feels that there is room for improvement.
“I think one thing we really need to work on is coming out of the gates with the same intensity and coming out smarter,” said senior co-captain Matt McMonagle. “We haven’t been playing our best lacrosse in the first half, and that is something we need to work on, to be able to play well from the get-go.”
[img_assist|nid=22613|title=Get off me|desc=Sophomore Max Seibald (42), who scored two goals in the Red’s 20-5 victory over Penn last Saturday, protects the ball against a defender.|link=popup|align=right|width=100|height=93]
Even though Cornell has a big matchup looming next Tuesday at Syracuse, the team is solely focused on tomorrow’s game.
“We are 100 percent focused on Harvard right now, especially because it is an Ivy League game and our league’s games are very important,” Bartlett said. “We have had tough games with them in the past.”
Harvard (2-4, 1-0) has been a streaky team this season, losing its first four games before winning its last two. The Crimson is coming off of a 6-4 road victory over Denver last weekend, a game in which it held the Pioneers scoreless in the second half. In its only Ivy game of the season so far, Harvard topped Penn by a score of 7-6. Crimson senior Carle Stenmark scored the game-winning goal in overtime to lead the team to victory.
“[Harvard is] a very athletic team up and down the field,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “They have a number of great athletes, which is something you have to account for when you are competing against them. They have a lot of talented players at both ends of the field.”
Harvard is led by senior Greg Cohen, who is tied for first on the team in goals (7) and points (10). The attackman earned second-team All-Ivy honors last season after tallying 23 goals and handing out seven assists. The Crimson also relies on sophomore Max Motschwiller, who has a team-leading seven assists on the year and is also tied with Cohen in points with 10.
“They are a very athletic team with a lot of very good lacrosse players,” McMonagle said. “We are spending a lot of time watching some film and getting to know this team because they have some dangerous players.”
At the face-off “X,” Cornell sophomore Tommy Schmicker will have his hands full with Harvard senior John Henry Flood. On the year, Flood has won 83-of-131 face offs, good for a .634 percentage, which ranks him first in the Ancient Eight.
“They have a very good face-off guy, who is probably among the top, if not the top, of the Ivy League,” Tambroni said. “In terms of possession time, we need to do a good job of competing there. We need to earn our fair share of possessions so it does not start to become a lopsided affair in regard to possession time.”
On defense, Cornell will have to watch out for Harvard sophomore Eric Posner, who has picked up 16 ground balls this season, second on the team only to Flood. Between the pipes, sophomore Joe Pike has started all six games for the Crimson. So far this season, he has posted a 10.81 goals against average and a .413 save percentage.
Last season, Cornell beat Harvard 10-3. Joe Boulukos ’06 and Seibald each recorded a hat trick and Derek Haswell ’06 added a pair of tallies as well. McMonagle made 14 saves in goal to help preserve the victory.