July 16, 2007

What to Look for in Cornell Athletics 2007-08

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This article appears in the 2007 edition of The Sun’s annual Freshman Issue.

The Red will be expected to be one of the top teams in the Ancient Eight as most of its talented core of players move into their junior or senior years. Senior All-Ivy tailback Luke Siwula will head the offense, currently standing sixth on the all-time rushing list. Much will be expected out of junior Nathan Ford, who made vast improvements in the Red’s passing attack this past season. The defense will likely be the strength of the squad, returning seven starters, two of whoom are All-Ivy honorees.

Men’s Basketball
Entering the 2007-08 season, the Red is gunning for its first Ivy League title since 1988. The pre-season favorites will rely on sophomores Ryan Wittman and Louis Dale to improve upon their impressive freshman stints. Cornell will welcome the return of Adam Gore who sat out all but one game last year due to an ACL injury. In addition, USC transfer junior Collin Robinson will be called upon to help solidify the Red’s overwhelming backcourt attack. The problem lies in the frontcourt, as sophomore Alex Tyler is the only returning forward who earned major minutes. If coach Steve Donahue can properly manage his guards and hide the Red’s supposed frontcourt weakness, look for the Red to be Marching coming tournament time.

Men’s Hockey
After a disappointing season in which it lost in the ECACHL quarterfinals, the men’s hockey team will look to improve this season. Co-captain Topher Scott will try to anchor the squad after notching 21 assists last year. Classmate and co-captain Raymond Sawada posted a career-high 21 points last season and will look to improve. Sophomore and co-alternate captain Colin Greening also returns after leading the team in goals, the first freshman to do so since 1999. Among the newcomers, freshman Riley Nash was a first-round selection by the Edmonton Oilers, only the second player in school history to be drafted in the NHL’s opening round. In goal, junior Troy Davenport and sophomore Ben Scrivens split time last season, and it remains to be seen who will be the No. 1 goalie this year.

Men’s Lacrosse
After finishing the regular season undefeated for the first time since 1987 and losing to Duke, 12-11, in the national semifinals, Cornell will have a tough act to follow. Thankfully for the Red, junior Max Seibald, a Tewaaraton finalist last year (NCAA Player of the Year), is coming back and will look to improve on his 17 goals and 20 assists. Senior John Glynn also returns after scoring 45 points. Between the pipes, untested senior Jake Myers will look to fill the big void left by the departure of four-year starter and All-American Matt McMonagle ’07. Another question mark is the attack unit, which lost all three of its starters.

The Cornell grapplers look poised to capture their third top-5 finish in the past four years at the NCAA tournament this season, with the team losing only one starting athlete and one of its four All-Americans (senior co-captain Jerry Rinaldi) from last year’s twelfth-place (NCAA) squad. It will be led by junior co-captain and two-time All-American Troy Nickerson at 125 pounds, who has finished third and second, respectively, the last two years at the NCAA tournament. The team will also rely on the consistent performance and leadership of senior Jordan Leen and junior Josh Arnone, who both finished eighth in last year’s NCAA tournament at 149 and 184 pounds, respectively, earning All-America honors. Furthermore, the Red will count on contributions from senior Steve Anceravage — last year’s EIWA champion at 165 pounds — and sophomore Adam Frey, who was ranked as the No. 2 wrestler in the country at 133 pounds for most of last season.