May 5, 2007

Men's Lacrosse Finishes Regular Season Undefeated

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While the band Catch 22 played at slope day, there was no catch-22 situation for the men’s lacrosse team tonight. Cornell topped Hobart, 17-4, to finish the regular season undefeated for the first time since 1987. Now, the Red will wait and find out where it will be seeded in the NCAA tournament.

“We all know that our first season is over, and our second season starts Sunday when the Selection Show shows us where we are seeded,” said sophomore Max Seibald.

As the only undefeated team in Division I, Cornell (13-0, 6-0 Ivy) has a chance to be the top seed in the 16-team field. The Red narrowly leads Duke in RPI rankings, holding a .695-.693 advantage. The Red might have an edge, though, by the fact that it won a head-to-head matchup with Duke earlier this season. The tournament bracket will be announced Sunday night at 9 p.m., but the team is not dwelling on the selection.

“I don’t think there are any nerves or any worries,” said senior Brian Clayton. “Nobody is sitting here trying to make out brackets of who we are going to be playing next. It is out of our hands.”

Before the NCAA tournament selection, Cornell had to take care of Hobart (5-9, 1-6 ECACLL). In the game, Clayton led the way with a career-high five goals, and classmates David Mitchell and Henry Bartlett added two apiece. Junior John Glynn, Mitchell and senior Eric Pittard each handed out two assists. No Hobart player recorded more than one goal.

“Luckily, I had a good conversation with my parents this morning,” Clayton said. “I just kind of vented off a little bit and got a little bit more focused. I guess I should thank them for shouldering some of the things I spilled over to them.”

Cornell’s defense was able to effectively stop Hobart juniors Jaime Kirk and Daryl Veltman. The duo of attackmen had come into the game averaging 6.23 points per contest, but against the Red they combined for just one goal and one assist.

In goal, Cornell senior co-captain Matt McMonagle saved 13 shots to preserve the win. Hobart freshman Max Silberlicht played the first three quarters and made eight saves, letting up 14 tallies. Sophomore Brad Hester played during the fourth and stopped one shot.

Cornell outshot Hobart, 43-37 and held the ground ball edge, 40-31. The Red was successful on 24-28 clears, while the Statesmen were successful in 18-25 opportunities. The turnover margin was very close, with Cornell turning it over 26 times to Hobart’s 25. At the face off “X,” sophomore Tommy Schmicker won 9-17 opportunities, while Glynn won 4-7. Junior Dan Spinella won 9-19 face offs for Hobart.

Cornell came out of the gate with a bang, scoring the first eight goals of the game, including seven in the first quarter. Clayton notched three tallies during that run. After the Red entered halftime up 10-1, it finished the game on a 7-4 run to complete its undefeated season.

“We were really excited to play tonight,” McMonagle said. “We were happy to win the first five minutes.”

The game was senior night, as the team’s 11 seniors were honored in a pregame ceremony. All 11 players saw playing time during the game.

“The senior class has done a lot for this particular team, a lot for our program,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “They deserve the credit that they get. Those guys have worked very hard behind the scenes. … It is nice to see those guys out there and have a chance to compete, and I’m sure it is going to leave a long, lasting memory for those guys about a chance to compete on a team that went undefeated during the regular season and finished the game on the field where they belonged.”