April 8, 2009

Second-Quarter Lapse Dooms Men’s Lacrosse

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Even the run-and-gun offense favored by the men’s lacrosse team couldn’t keep up with the Orange’s high-octane scoring unit as No. 5 Syracuse took advantage of 17 Cornell turnovers and a big second quarter to topple the Red, 15-10, in a matchup between two of the most prolific offenses in the country.
Syracuse’s (8-2) defense bounced back from a rough outing against No. 2 Princeton on Saturday and prevented Cornell’s (7-2, 3-0 Ivy) offense from setting up while also thwarting the Red’s quick transition game. The Orange outshot the Red, 48-34, and caused 17 turnovers while only committing 14.
The first quarter ended with the two teams tied at 4, but Syracuse used an 8-1 run stretching from the end of the first quarter into halfway through the third quarter to go up 11-5. The only goal Cornell scored during that period was a man-up tally by junior attackman Ryan Hurley, who took a nice feed from freshman Rob Pannell, shot it, then recovered his own rebound and tossed it past Syracuse goalie John Galloway.
Cornell’s offense could not outrun Syracuse as easily as it had outpaced other opponents this season. When the Red tried to push the pace of the game faster, it had trouble executing and converting for the goal, but when it slowed the pace down to control possession, Syracuse’s intense defensive pressure prevented high-quality chances and would eventually force the turnover.
“All of a sudden we stopped making plays,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “Galloway would make a save or we’d turn the ball over or they’d knock the ball to the ground. The same type of plays that we’ve had a lot of success with over the last seven weeks seemed to backfire tonight.”[img_assist|nid=36654|title=Make me throw my hands in the ayer|desc=Senior Max Seibald (42) was held to just one goal and an assist in Cornell’s loss to Syracuse last night. It was the first time in the teams’ last six meetings that the host team prevailed.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
If we had to do it all over again, I think we’d probably still push the pace of the game, and just hope to have a little bit more success.”
Syracuse senior attackman Kenny Nims powered the offense with four assists and two goals and sophomore defenseman Joel White matched up against Cornell’s senior captain Max Seibald and held him to just one goal and one assist.
“It’s a real challenge going out there against him, but at the same time I know that I have a great defense behind me. We had some great guys sliding; a lot of good talk and [Galloway] made great saves,” White said. “We had some breakdowns here and there, but overall we played a lot better than we did last week.”
Senior netminder Jake Myers started in goal for the first time this season after starting for the Red in 2008. Myers, a transfer from Syracuse, was picked over 2009 starter senior Kyle Harer, due to his experience at the Carrier Dome, which is a notoriously difficult arena for goalies because the silver bleachers make it hard to see the shot. Myers was also the more confident goalie heading into last night, Tambroni said, after his successful relief outing against Harvard on Saturday.
“You can’t second-guess yourself, especially against a team like Syracuse that shoots the ball so well,” Tambroni said.
Cornell mounted an admirable comeback attempt with a 5-1 run starting late in the third quarter. Senior midfielder George Calvert scored a quick goal following a Syracuse offside, then junior midfielder Austin Boykin scored from point-blank range to bring the Red within four, 11-7, with just under two minutes to play in the third quarter. Hurley scored on an assist from Pannell with 40 seconds remaining in the quarter. Pannell led Cornell with five points on four goals and one assist.
Syracuse pushed the lead back out with an unassisted goal by senior midfielder Patrick Perritt, but Cornell’s All-American midfield tandem of Seibald and senior John Glynn teamed up for back-to-back goals to draw Cornell within two, 12-10.
“All of sudden we look up at the board again and they’re within a couple, and it’s a dog fight again,” said Syracuse coach John Desko. “We did a pretty good job of competing and getting goals when we needed them. Then we remained patient at the end to try to seal the deal.”
Syracuse seemed to regroup after Cornell’s last goal with 13:40 to play, and rattled off the last three goals of the game and dominated possession the rest of the way.
“We learn from these games throughout the course of the season and hope that you can improve as the year goes on,” Tambroni said.