March 10, 2008

Amidst Pouring Rain, M. Lax Holds Off Late Army Run

Print More

The weather was described in the box score as “cold and torrential downpour” and the Schoellkopf crescent was completely absent of any traces of human life. Amidst the sheets of rain and lack of people, however, the No. 8 men’s lacrosse team continued to make strides, holding off a late run from No. 16 Army to win, 9-8, on Saturday.
“Coming into this one I think our guys were just trying to figure out who we are, but it was nice to see the guys get excited about some of the plays,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “I don’t think we’ve been doing that the past couple of games against Navy and North Carolina. We haven’t really gotten into any rhythm. Today everybody shared responsibility. It was nice to get the ball on the offensive and share some possession time.”
The team is looking for an identity after losing five seniors who were named to the USILA All-America team. And while Saturday only saw the Red score nine goals, it was the manner in which those goals were scored that was reason for excitement afterward. Of the nine goals, only two players scored more than one, junior co-captain Max Seibald and senior John Espey. Senior co-captain John Glynn tallied three points on two assists and one goal.
“I think that our offense since the beginning of the game was on the same page,” Seibald said. “We were working together. It’s something that we haven’t had all year. Our goal was to be a solid team offense today and work for the best shot available.”[img_assist|nid=28684|title=In my wake|desc=Senior John Espey (9) dodges past his defender during the Red’s 9-8 win over Army this past Saturday. Espey had two goals, one of only two players on the squad to score multiple times.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
And the Red did that … in stretches. Splashing through puddles, the two teams played a slow-paced, somewhat sloppy first period. Army was calculated and deliberate on offense, holding the ball on offense for long stretches. The result was a 2-1 Army lead after 15 minutes of play.
The Red offense was sharing the ball, however. Much of the offensive ineptitude was the result of Army’s goalie, Adam Fullerton, who stood out much of the afternoon. He nabbed a point-blank attempt from senior Mike Corbolotti, trapped a screaming one-hopper from junior Chris Finn, and deflected a shot headed for the top shelf by Seibald.
“I think we got a lot of the shots,” Finn said. “We prepared hard for this goalie. He’s one of the best in the country and he got hot in the game so we just kept shooting hard and hoped for the best.”
The Red’s wishes were answered in the second quarter, when the squad put up five of its nine goals. After scoring only one goal in the first 20 minutes of play, senior John Espey got things going as he dodged past his man, wound up and slipped a shot past Fullerton’s ankles. Junior Kyle Doctor followed him just over a minute later as he just beat his man to the front of the cage where he slung in a low shot.
With Glynn dominating the faceoff “X” — winning 14-of-15 on the day — the Red was able to not allow Army to dominate possession time. In fact, Cornell was able to turn Glynn’s faceoff prowess into offensive opportunities.
“I actually look at [the faceoff] as an opportunity to make your own offense, pushing transitions and creating a lot more opportunities off the ground,” Glynn said. “We actually had a talk this week with our units about how we had to get everyone on board from our attack to our defense to our riding. So that was a huge part of our game this week was faceoffs.”
In a somewhat preplanned move, Tambroni brought in freshman Matt Martinez at the start of the third quarter to replace starter Jake Myers, a senior.
“I think it took a little while for Matt to settle in, neither goalie seemed to see the ball all that well today,” Tambroni said. “I think that there is promise in both of them. I think that the defense needs to do a better job protecting them. Both goalies showed flashes of being capable goaltenders, but we still have a little bit of work to do there. … [Myers] was playing OK at that point, but we we’re looking into the future and we wanted to see what Matt could do against a quality opponent early on in the season.”
And it was the defense, compounding a suddenly stale offense that turned a 7-4 lead into a 7-6 lead in just under a 30 second stretch.
“We were straying from that best shot mentality,” Seibald said. “We were going back to what we’ve been doing the past two games where one guy tries to dodge and create too much instead of relying on the guys that are two passes away.”
The fourth quarter dragged on scoreless for over 10 minutes until two Cornell goals put the game seemingly out of reach with just over a minute left. A late run and some poor execution of the “no-shoot,” clock-burning offense gave the Red a scare. Army put in two goals 19 seconds apart to close the lead to one. The Black Knights got a chance to send the game to overtime, too.
After a timeout with 17 seconds left, Espey brought the ball in from the corner. Two Army defenders converged on him, knocking him to the ground and sending the ball loose. Army quickly transitioned down the field, dodged past a Cornell defender and got off a clean look at the net with only seconds remaining on the clock. Martinez nabbed the shot in his webbing and slung it the other way downfield as the clock expired.
“Towards the end of the game, I think that we were back on our heels a little bit as they were making their run in the final minute,” Tambroni said. “So I don’t think we could account for those goals as Martinez’s fault as much as it was our team’s defensive breakdown.”