April 14, 2008

Hurley's Career Day Fuels M. Lax

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In a scene contrasting sharply with Tuesday night, victorious men’s lacrosse head coach Jeff Tambroni smiled with his young daughter, greeting young fans outside the gates long after the match had ended and his team had retreated to their locker room. Cornell defeated Dartmouth 16-11 Saturday afternoon at Shoellkopf Field, led by sophomore attacker Ryan Hurley’s five goals and four assists.
With the win, the Red improves to 9-2 overall and remain undefeated in Ivy play at 4-0. Dartmouth (4-6, 0-3) is still searching for its first Ivy win. And although the Green was probably not aware of its place in the Red record books, the win marked the Cornell lacrosse program’s 650th victory, and continued Tambroni’s perfect 8-0 record against the Green.
Tambroni said that he was pleased the team had returned to the win column after the loss to Syracuse, but that there are still many things to work on. [img_assist|nid=29815|title=Love potion No. 9|desc=Sophomore Ryan Hurley (26) scored nine points in the Red’s 16-11 win over Dartmouth on Saturday.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“This has always been a tough week for our program,” he said. “It was important for our guys to get right back on the horse and get ourselves a win. We’re certainly happy that we won today, but we did a lot of things we can’t afford to do as the season goes on.”
Tambroni mentioned mental errors in particular as an area that the team needs to work on.
“[Cornell did a lot of] uncharacteristically unintelligent things that put ourselves at a disadvantage,” Tambroni said. “We really need to tighten things up in terms of our intelligence.”
Cornell displayed a far more balanced attack than it had against Syracuse on Tuesday, and was helped by junior co-captain Max Seibald’s three goals and one assist and senior co-captain attacker John Glynn’s four assists. Junior attacker Chris Finn and senior attacker John Espey each scored three goals, sophomore attacker Chris Ritchie added two more goals, and junior mid Rocco Romero dished out two assists.
“Our attack was kind of embarrassed Tuesday,” Glynn said. “We just wanted to get back to basics. [The improved offensive production] took some of the pressure off of the defense.”
The Green was led by sophomore attacker Josh Gillam who was able to avoid much of Cornell’s pressure, finishing the match with six goals and junior attacker Brian Koch’s five points.
“It certainly wasn’t our best defensive efforts,” Glynn said. “That’s just a lack of mental preparation. We probably didn’t do our job enough, offensively or defensively to take away their strength.”
Cornell held the slight advantage in shots, 34-36, clears and the important extra-man opportunity category—the Red was 4-6 compared to the Green who was 0-2. Cornell also held an edge in face-0ffs, with Tommy Schmicker repeating his strong performance Tuesday, winning 8-13, and Glynn was 7-14 inside the restart circle. Dartmouth earned the advantage in ground balls, however, 35-30, as well as in the less-desirable penalty minutes category, incurring six minutes of penalty time compared to Cornell’s 1:30.
Cornell scored first Saturday, capitalizing on a Dartmouth turnover barely one minute into the match. Hurley scored the first of his five goals close to a minute later, beating his defender and scoring from the right side. Hurley scored again from a Seibald assist at the 9:51 minute mark, to make the score 3-0.
“It was extremely important [to get the quick three goals],” Tambroni said. Adding that the lead gave the defense an appreciated cushion in the beginning of the match and raised the comfort level of everyone n the field.
The Green then put together a small rally, scoring two unanswered goals before Finn scored unassisted to put the Red up by two again with three minutes left in the first. The quarter ended with Cornell up 5-3.
The second quarter was controlled by Cornell, scoring three goals to Dartmouth’s one and out shooting its opponent 9-4. The two teams went to the locker rooms with Cornell leading 8-4.
Dartmouth mounted something of a comeback at the beginning of the second half as a reinvigorated Dartmouth attack battled back and forth with Cornell’s defensive line, falling behind by as much as six but ending the quarter 13-9. The Green outshot the Red 14-8 in this quarter and controlled the ground balls, 13-6. Gillam scored four of his six goals during this period as well.
“At two points Dartmouth had a push to come back, during the third quarter in particular,” Tambroni said. “To our guys’ credit they stayed the course and played with a lot of poise. They kept pushing.”
The final period began with another Dartmouth score, bringing the team within three goals for the first time since the second quarter. Glynn ended the Green’s scoring run, however, with a surgical assist to Hurley who found the net with 12:42 left in the game.
Hurley said that as an attacker he appreciated the more fast-paced tempo of the match, which encouraged the offense to try “to catch the [Dartmouth] defense sleeping.”
“Hurley just seemed to have that mental edge,” Tambroni said. “Really came out in practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.”
After his performance on Saturday, Hurley needs just four more goals in order to become the 11th individual in school history in over 40 years to score 40 or more goals in one season.
Hurley declined from putting any special emphasis on personal stats or records, however.
[It’s] just another number,” he said. “I just want to make sure our team gets the win.”