April 2, 2009

Injured M. Lax Hosts Harvard Saturday

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The season is officially past the halfway point, but it seems like the No. 3/4 men’s lacrosse team is just getting to work. Starting with its home matchup against No. 13/17 Harvard on Saturday, the Red enters a stretch of games that head coach Jeff Tambroni called the most competitive he’s ever seen.
“It’s the same schedule every year,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “But Brown has gotten better, Princeton seems to be back to their old ways and Syracuse clearly set themselves as one of the two best teams in the country.”
Harvard (5-2, 1-0 Ivy) knocked off Duke, 9-6, in North Carolina to open the season with a loud statement. Even with a tough schedule, the players are looking forward to the second game of its first real homestand of the season. The Red (6-1, 2-0 Ivy) has not played consecutive home games yet this season.
[img_assist|nid=36499|title=On the run|desc=Men’s Lacrosse has a 58-23 all time record against the Crimson. Saturday’s matchup will be the Red’s first consecutive home game since the season began.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“It’s been a long stretch since we were home, and there’s definitely a routine as far as just being in your own environment,” said senior Max Seibald.
Senior midfielders John Glynn, the Red’s top face-off man, and Tommy Schmicker, his backup at the ‘X,’ are both nursing injuries. Cornell will need someone to step up on the face off — Harvard has won 53.5 percent of its restarts so far this season, led by Christian Oberbeck’s 55 percent and Andrew Parchman’s 58 percent. Last week the Red won just 40 percent of its face offs against Penn, a team that wins 52.5 percent of its face offs.
Glynn will be able to play before he is able to face off, head coach Jeff Tambroni said. The mechanics of the face off would be more likely to aggravate the preseason first team All-American’s elbow than would regular game play.
“We’re just hoping he’s going to be OK in the long run,” Tambroni said. “I don’t know how long it will be before he comes back, it might be longer before he can face off.”
The Red’s second-best option at face off, Schmicker, is likely out for the season with a torn ACL. Schmicker and Glynn are just two of the players nursing injuries — senior defenseman Matt Moyer played through a knee injury last week and sophomore defenseman Max Feely sat out the game against Penn, though he will probably return this week, Tambroni said.
With Schmicker and Glynn unable to fill the void in face offs, Tambroni will probably turn to a platoon of Seibald, sophomore midfielder Kevin Raesly and junior midfielder Matt Sutherland. Raesly won 3-of-7 face offs against Penn, drawing praise from Tambroni. Sutherland won 2-of-6 against the Quakers, but 5-of-8 against Yale’s Kevin Disceplo, the 18th ranked face off man in the nation.
Last season, the two teams met for the first-ever lacrosse match to be played at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Attackman Ryan Hurley scored five goals and notched an assist to lead the team to an 11-7 victory. Cornell went on an 8-1 run in the first half to shut down Harvard’s second-half comeback.
Both teams can control play on offense, as shown by their high average shot totals. Cornell averages 44 shots per game; Harvard averages 37.6.
The Crimson won a 17-2 rout of Presbyterian its last time out. Harvard is led by rookie attacker Jeff Cohen’s 13 goals and seven assists. Sophomore attacker Dean Gibbons has tacked on 14 goals for the Crimson.
Especially with the Red’s uncertainty on the face off, the defense will need to step up to keep the game close. Harvard’s offense doesn’t post huge numbers, averaging 11 goals per game, but it has handily outscored opponents, 78-39, this season. The nine-goal mark seems to be a big one for the Crimson — it has won 29 of its last 34 games when it scored nine or more goals, but lost 38 of 44 when it scored less than nine.