March 27, 2009

M. Lacrosse Welcomes Penn to Schoellkopf

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There are wins, and there are big wins, the kind of wins that give teams a real sense of pride and a jolt of adrenaline that, under the right circumstances, can stay with a team for a long time. The men’s lacrosse team will face Penn at home this Saturday, with the remnants of that fresh adrenaline still coursing through its veins. The No. 3 Red (5-1, 1-0 Ivy) are coming off a big weekend, following a strong win against top-10 rival Duke, 10-6, followed up by a 15-8 victory over Yale to kick off Ivy League play.
Against the Blue Devils, the Red benefited from an outstanding performance from senior starting goalie senior Kyle Harer, who earned an impressive, career-high 17 saves—this against a Duke team ranked 16th in the country in scoring. Harer is currently ranked eighth in the country in goals-against average (7.75 goals) and 15th in save percentage (.580).
The rest of Cornell’s defensive unit also did a good job keeping Duke’s typically high-scoring offense in check. Among other things, clearing the ball effectively was a key strength.
While the Red came out strong against the Bulldogs, the attack faded quickly after an initial scoring run in the first period, and Cornell allowed Yale to get back in the game as the fist two periods of play drew to a close. The second half, however, showcased a markedly different Red offense, one that was willing to cooperate and communicate with each other—a change that was reflected in the Red’s dominant play and the final score of the match. [img_assist|nid=36321|title=Finn-ish him|desc=Senior attackman Chris Finn (29) and the Red’s offense will take on Penn tomorrow at noon.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
The Red’s top performers did not go unnoticed by outside observers either, as — for the first time in nearly three years — Cornell lacrosse swept the Ivy’s weekly awards. Harer was named Ivy player of the Week, while freshman forward Rob Pannell, who currently leads the nation in assists per game (2.67), was awarded Rookie of the Week honors. Pannell’s three helpers against Duke broke the Red’s record for assists by a freshman in a single season (15), a record set in 2006 by none other than senior Max Seibald.
Cornell will be looking for more stellar performances this weekend, not only from Pannell and Harer, but also from the entire team. Penn, however, is not expected to put up the same kind of fight as did Duke or Yale. The Quakers are 1-5, 0-2 against Ivy opponents. The team has not won a contest since its Feb 21 match against Drexel, and recently lost to Harvard and Yale by scores of 11-4 and 14-13 (in overtime) respectively.