April 9, 2008

M. Lax Falls to No. 1 Orange

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A crowd of disgruntled assistant coaches and trainers stood huddled outside the door to the men’s locker room at Shoellkopf, muttering and shaking their heads. There wasn’t much else anyone could do last night after a game that left even stoic head coach Jeff Tambroni looking a little defeated, as No. 1 Syracuse proved why it is in fact the top-seeded team, beating No. 5 Cornell decisively, 15-8. With the win, Syracuse moved to 9-1 for the year.
It was the first game in four years where either team had beaten the other by more than two goals.
“We definitely learned why Syracuse is the No. 1 team,” Tambroni said. “They played a complete game from start to finish.”
[img_assist|nid=29667|title=Godly Glynn|desc=John Glynn (20) carries the ball in Cornell’s 15-8 loss to Syracuse last night. Glynn led the Red in points, goals and assists.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Tambroni said that although every loss is frustrating, the Red (8-2, 3-0 Ivy) would be using the game as an opportunity to improve, rather than dwelling so much on its negatives.
“Overall, it’s obvious we’re a little bit short of the expectations we’re setting for the program,” he said.
Throughout the game, Syracuse seemed stronger overall and more aggressive than Cornell on defense. The Red’s defense often reverted to a bunch-ball style that left Orange players open in the middle of the field.
Tambroni said that Cornell’s early enthusiasm may have lowered the team’s focus on the field, leading to missed opportunities.
“Our guys were pretty excited to go out and compete,” he said. “They probably came out a little too aggressive and didn’t adjust to the way the game was being called. Syracuse is a good team. They put a lot of pressure on us offensively and defensively.”
Penalties were a big problem for the Red in a game that was called very tight by the refs from the onset. Cornell racked up 12 penalties compared to Syracuse’s seven.
That, unfortunately for the Red, was about the only statistic where Cornell held a numeric advantage in. The Orange outshoot its Red counterparts 46-33, had more groundballs (34-29) converted more extra-man opportunities (they were 4-10 compared to Cornell’s 0-6) and also notched more clears per period.
“[Syracuse] definitely controlled the tempo of our offense,” said senior midfielder John Glynn. “They didn’t allow us to set up any offense. You got to give credit to them.”
Cornell did secure three more face-offs than Syracuse, however, a testament mostly to junior middle Tommy Schmicker’s strong 11-for-19 night in the circle.
The Orange was led by star attacker Mike Leveille, who successfully evaded the Red’s defenders all night, chalking up five goals and one assist.
Cornell was led in goals by Glynn, with three, as well as two assists, and junior co-captain midfielder Max Seibald, who added two goals and one assist.
Senior goalie Jake Myers had 14 saves on the day, a personal record.
“We got away from the team offense a little bit,” Seibald said. “We had some fast break opportunities we didn’t capitalize on. Tonight [Syracuse] did the little things and we didn’t.”
Noticeably absent from the scoreboard was sophomore attacker Ryan Hurley, who has been on a hot streak recently, and prior to the match ranked second in the nation in goals per game, with 3.33.
Tambroni said that Hurley, as well as fellow sophomore and attacker Chris Ritchie and junior attacker Chris Finn hung back a little too much during the match and were too tentative, allowing team leaders lie Seibald and Glynn to spearhead most of the team’s efforts.
“It’s a young attack,” Tambroni said. “I think it was a problem of some of our guys not having as much conviction to just go for the goal. They’re going to get better. You got to allow these guys to grow up a little bit.”
Cornell was the first to get on the board, with a score by junior middie Rocco Romero, assisted by Glynn, just 19 seconds into the match. But in a gesture that was a precursor of the action to come, Leveille scored almost immediately after Romero. The Orange took the lead shortly thereafter and didn’t surrender it for the remainder of the night.