February 26, 2008

M. Lacrosse Prepares for Binghamton

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UPDATE: Today’s home-opener has been canceled due to inclement weather.
The Proclaimers proclaimed that they were committed enough to walk 500 miles to go get a girl. The Binghamton men’s lacrosse team is committed to travel at least the 50 miles between Binghamton and Ithaca tomorrow to try and get a win against the Cor­nell men’s lacrosse team.
“I’m sure they’ve been building ever since we played them last year,” said junior defenseman Matt Moy­er. “It’s an upstate rivalry, and they’ve been building to get back a little bit of what was taken from them last year.”
Moyer is referring to the 19-4 win the Red (1-0) had last year in the most recent installment in the now-annual home-opener against the Bearcats (0-0). It is the third straight year that the two teams have faced off at Schoellkopf Field for Cornell’s home opener and the fifth straight year the two teams have squared off. The Red won the first four matchups, the last three by significant margins.
Still, the one thing Moyer remembers about the Bearcats from last year was their intensity.
“They really brought it to us, and it didn’t matter what the score was,” he said. “They took it to us every possession and challenged us. That’s something that they do to every opponent game in and game out.”
Binghamton returns most of its top players from a year ago. The team’s points leaders from last two seasons, juniors Jake Boyce and Chris Mulheron fuel the Bearcat attack. In addition to its upper-classmen, the Binghamton midfield features the reigning America East Rookie of the Year, sophomore Steve Carlson.
“Their middies are very athletic,” Moyer said. “They attack and are fearless dodgers and will take it against anyone. It doesn’t matter if you have the best defense in the country, they’ll come right at you.”
Cornell is a squad hoping to find its fearlessness on offense after a slow performance against Navy. The Red scored only four goals until the final few minutes of the contest. [img_assist|nid=28209|title=Ready for action|desc=After several scrimmages, the men’s lacrosse team will try to follow up its 12-11 win over Navy with a victory over the visiting Binghamton Bearcats.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“One thing we want to keep from last year is having no fear of failure,” said junior Max Seibald. “If you see an opportunity, just take it. We want our offense to be very dynamic, where we can attack from anywhere on the field from both the midfield and attack.”
One way to do that is to improve transition play.
“[Transition] creates a spark,” Seibald said. “A lot of what we do [offensively] results from transition.”
Binghamton had this same fearless and tenacious nature on display last year against some top teams. Despite finishing 4-9 overall, Binghamton gave a scare to then-No. 3 Virginia, losing by three, and later beat then-No. 6 Albany.
“Binghamton is a team that slides under the radar. … They’re a very experienced bunch,” Moyer said. “A lot of people would say that we’re kind of an inexperienced bunch because we lost a lot from last year. But a lot of the guys we have back know what happened last year when we played them.”
Cornell is coming off an 8-7 overtime win over then-No. 12 Navy last weekend. A stagnant offense was saved by two goals in the last minute to propel Cornell into overtime, where it won.
With such a short time to prepare — namely one afternoon of practice — the team didn’t have much time to glean lessons from the Navy game, or prepare for Binghamton. Still, a few short film sessions were enough to focus on a few things.
“One thing that was stressed in practice was going back into our team offense,” said junior co-captain Max Seibald. “Relying on each other and trusting that each person will be in the right spot at the right time. Not trying to create offense individually but as a team.”
That was not the only area that hurt the Red against Navy.
“Overall we just need to think about hustling all over the field,” Moyer said. “We had a lot of times in the game against Navy where a lack of hustle hurt us. Those are things are in our control.”
And with a team with so many new faces, getting used to one another and feeling comfortable with communication is something that still needs to be improved.
“We need to do a lot better job of communicating through our whole defensive system,” Moyer said. “Six-on-six we did an OK job, but we still have a lot of area to improve on. We gave up a man-down goal, so a lot of our focus in that film was to work on man-down.”
Moyer, specifically, knows he has to increase his vocal role on the field. After playing the sides as a long-stick defender last year, Moyer moved into the role of the main long-stick defender this year.
“I’ve really moved into that main communicator role now where a lot of it has to go through me,” Moyer said. “Last year I was able to listen a lot more than have to talk. This year, at the same time that I have to be a listener, I have to be that driving voice on the defense. That’s really the role I’ve stepped into.”