If you felt bad for the men’s lacrosse team, who played two games while most Cornell students laid out on the beach at a hodgepodge of sunny Spring Break destinations, don’t waste too much time on pity.
Not only did the Red spend six days in Dallas, Texas, but the time off from school helped the squad to two important victories over the Denver Pioneers and the Yale Bulldogs.
On its “vacation” in Dallas, the Red accomplished a lot more than just a splotchy suntan. Cornell earned a 20-7 win in its first ever contest against Denver, but the individual players who struggled to find each other back in Ithaca, succeeded in bonding and playing together as a unit for the first time this season.
“It was a fun experience down there in Texas,” said junior Max Seibald. “We went down there with two goals. One was to bond and grow as a team and the other was to come away with a win against Denver which we did.”
Throughout the days leading up to the evening contest against the Pioneers, the squad enjoyed the unfamiliar experience of warm, sunny practices.
However, as if to remind them that the weather was still on the fritz in Ithaca, the day of the game brought torrential downpours that shut down the airport and prevented many parents from making the trip to Highland Park High School’s lacrosse field. Perhaps dazed by flashbacks of wintry mixes and sub-freezing temperatures, the squad got off to a slow start falling behind 2-0 in the first quarter.
Fortunately, it wasn’t long before the Red realized that it was used to playing in bad conditions and the offense went on a tear, with 10 players scoring goals for the Red in the victory.
“I think that the trip played a huge factor in us becoming better team,” Seibald said. “We did a good job scouting them [Denver] and preparing for them. We focused a lot on what we had to do to improve and we focused on their strengths and weaknesses. But the time together as a team helped us out a lot. Getting to be around the guys 24/7 really did help the team aspect.”
When the Red returned home, it immediately set its sights on the Ivy League home opener against Yale.
Coming off a successful road trip and sporting a stronger team dynamic, the Red was able to pull out an 8-7 overtime victory against the Bulldogs.
“We were fortunate enough in the last quarter to have our defense step and we got some big breaks,” Seibald said. “[Sophomore] Ryan Hurley stepped up at the end and he won us the game. He picked the ball up from the end line and went to the cage and came around the crease and belted it and that was it.”
Although the Bulldogs suffered a loss to Penn the previous weekend, they looked strong on Schoellkopf field. Although the Red took a 4-3 lead into the second quarter, the Bulldogs scored the only three goals of before halftime. Supported by senior goalie George Carafides, who had 13 saves on the afternoon, Yale was able to hold.
The remainder of the game was a hard fought battle for both sides and a true test of the Red’s durability as the game went beyond regulation. Hurley ended it when he scored his game-winner.
“I think we definitely accomplished a lot of our goal in becoming more of a team and coming closer as a team over Spring Break,” Seibald said. “I think we made the most of it with all the time we had together. We finished Spring Break off with a tough victory and … it was an Ivy League game, which is a big deal. It was just another opportunity for us to compete together and grow as a team.”