April 16, 2007

M. Lax Cruises to Win Over Green

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HANOVER, N.H. — While most Americans were putting the finishing touches on their taxes before Tax Day, the men’s lacrosse team had another type of Green on its mind. Four days after a thrilling win over Syracuse, No. 1 Cornell utilized runs of 8-0 and 7-0 to top Dartmouth, 17-3, on the road.
“The game definitely had a different feel to it [than Syracuse], just because of the whole atmosphere of the Carrier Dome,” said senior David Mitchell. “Dartmouth is a tough place to play too, though. … We had to make sure that we came with the right mindset that it was going to be tough and that Dartmouth was going to be ready.”
Mitchell scored five goals and one assist and classmate Eric Pittard added three goals and an assist to lead Cornell (10-0, 4-0 Ivy). Senior Henry Bartlett and junior John Espey added two goals apiece, while sophomore Max Seibald, the hero of the Syracuse game, handed out a team-high three assists. Sophomore Brian Koch and fresh man Josh Gillam paced Dartmouth (4-5, 1-2) with a goal and an assist each.[img_assist|nid=22909|title=The Espey awards.|desc=Junior John Espey (9) — who notched two goals on three shots in Cornell’s 17-3 win over Dartmouth on Saturday — beats a Syracuse defender in the Red’s 16-15 win over the Orange on April 10.|link=node|align=left|width=100|height=69]
Cornell sophomore Tommy Schmicker dominated at the face-off “X,” winning 15-of-19 draws — including 6-of-6 in the second quarter — a marked improvement over his 8-of-24 mark during the Syracuse game.
“Tommy had a great day,” Mitchell said. “He must have been feeling good today. … He has his confidence back and I know he will be great for us.”
Cornell outshot Dartmouth by a 46-29 margin and also held a 45-28 edge in ground balls, but the Red did have 23 turnovers compared to the Green’s 18. Cornell was successful on 17-of-19 of its clears, while Dartmouth was only 11-of-17. The Red was also called for seven penalties, but the Green only scored one goal with an extra man.
On defense, Cornell held Dartmouth’s two top threats, senior Nick Bonacci and freshman Ari Sussman, to one total point. Also, the Red held an opponent to less than four goals for the first time this season.
“[Senior co-captain] Mitch Belisle and [sophomore] Matt Moyer in particular did a great job [on defense],” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “Mitch especially just did a great job on [Bonacci], who we think is one of the best attackmen, certainly in the Ivy League, if not the country. … We are very fortunate to have a guy like that on the defensive end.”
In goal, senior co-captain Matt McMonagle rebounded from giving up 15 goals against Syracuse and stopped 11 Dartmouth attempts. It was the 40th career victory for the goaltender. Green freshman Michael Novosel made 12 saves and gave up 15 goals. He was replaced in the fourth quarter by sophomore Pat Marshall, who gave up two scores.
Dartmouth got on the board first after Belisle was called for slashing. On the ensuing man advantage, Koch caught a pass from Gillam right next to McMonagle, and slipped it past the goaltender for the early Green lead.
“Coach talks to us a lot about winning the first five minutes, so it is something that we have to work on in practice this week,” Pittard said.
Cornell answered right back, though, when Seibald passed it to his left to junior John Glynn, who rocketed it past Novosel to even the game at one. The game remained tied until Cornell notched five straight goals to end the quarter. The scoring started when Seibald had the ball toward the edge of the attack zone and found Mitchell open towards the middle, and the senior made a shot through traffic to give the Red a lead it would not relinquish. Over the next two minutes, Pittard scored three straight goals, and senior Casey Lewis added a tally of his own to give Cornell a 6-1 lead.
“Our midfield draws a lot of attention, so we are lucky enough to be the beneficiary of a lot of easy ones,” Pittard said.
In the second quarter, Espey scored two straight unassisted goals to extend Cornell’s run to 8-0. Gillem finally broke the run when he caught a pass to McMonagle’s right and rocketed a shot into the back of the cage. The Red responded by going on a 7-0 run that stretched into the fourth quarter. After Mitchell scored a man-down goal, Lewis took a shot that Novosel deflected. The ball went right to Bartlett, who scored his first tally of the contest.
“We practice at a high tempo and during the game it is kind of second nature,” Mitchell said. “Just move the ball to the next guy, take a quick shot and take advantage of the opportunities that the other team gives us.”
Cornell picked up right where it left off as the second half began. Less than a minute into the third, Seibald passed the ball to Mitchell, who fired a low shot that went past Novosel. Five minutes later, Glynn found Mitchell waiting to Novosel’s left, and the attackman notched his 30th goal of the season. Six minutes later, Glynn found Bartlett running in front of the cage, and the senior threw it behind his back for a score. Cornell added to its lead as sophomore Chris Finn added a tally and Mitchell scored his fifth.
In the fourth, Cornell replaced most of its starters and gave many of its reserves some minutes. Dartmouth struck first in the fourth when junior Will Boardman notched a goal off of a pass from Bonacci. After this, the Red scored the final two goals of the game, both of which involved freshman Ryan Hurley. With three and a half minutes left in the contest, Hurley passed the ball to sophomore Rocco Romero, who fired it past sophomore Pat Marshall, who had replaced Novosel. Less than a minute later, Finn found a streaking Hurley, who put it past Marshall for his first career goal.
“Up and down, I think it is tough to ask them to come off the bench after sitting on the sidelines for 45 minutes on a day like today where it is 40 degrees,” Tambroni said. “We thought once they got warmed up, after about seven or eight minutes, they did a pretty good job of shooting the ball, and scored the last two goals of the game, which is great.”