March 2, 2010

Men’s Lacrosse Opens Season With 10-7 Win

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The men’s lacrosse team took its first step towards a quality season with a morale-boosting 10-7 win over Hobart on the road on Sunday. The No. 7 Red (1-0) dominated in almost every category, forcing the Statesmen (0-1) to play catch up the entire match.

“It was good to get our first win against Hobart, a team who returns a lot of players and a team who is one of our biggest rivals … and see what we have to work on and improve going forward,” said sophomore Rob Pannell.

Starting off the game strong offensively by maintaining control of the ball through draw controls and forced turnovers, the Red did not give the Statesmen many opportunities, which created longer possession times for the Red. Cornell blitzed to a quick 3-0 lead against Hobart, within the first five minutes off of goals from senior Chris Ritchie, sophomore Scott Austin and junior Jon Thomson. Austin finished with two goals and Thomson was held to one goal and one assist.

“We have a lot of younger guys playing, including myself, and it was an important step in building some confidence heading into our season,” Austin said.

Towards the end of the first period and the start of the second period, the Statesmen quickly rebounded with two tallies, making the score 3-2. Yet, once again, the Red blasted three straight goals with Pannell and senior Ryan Hurley having an input in each. The Statesmen scored one remaining goal before going into halftime, with a 6-3 lead for Cornell.

“We knew Hobart was a tough, experienced team and they were going to be excited to get a chance to start their season off against us. Since it was both our first game it is hard to get a read on what they’re going to do, and you just have to adjust on the fly,” Austin said.

The Red slowed its pace somewhat in the third quarter, allowing Hobart to net an early goal to start the period. Unperturbed, Cornell answered back decisively with a three-goal scoring run, pushing the lead to 9-4.

Throughout the fourth period, the Statesmen scored their final three goals of the match, while the Red only tallied one additional goal from an extra-man advantage, bringing the score to 10-7, which it would remain until the final whistle.

“I think we were definitely prepared for tonight’s game against Hobart, having had two weeks since our last scrimmage to work on what we needed to and prepare for Hobart. It was a good game to see where we are at as a team but we definitely have a lot of work to do as a whole to get where we want to be at the end of the season,” Pannell said.

In terms of the statistics battle, Cornell held the clear edge, leading in shots, 37-32, ground balls, 34-22, while also scoring on 2-of-5 extra-man chances. Hobart did have a slight 19-10 advantage on face-offs.

“It’s definitely good to get this first win and hopefully it will be good for us as we have a game under our belts already. We’re just looking to improve on our play today and focusing on getting better each and every game,” Austin said.

With little time to recover and hoping to utilize the momentum from its first win, Cornell heads back into action today, as it faces Canisius (0-1) in Buffalo at 4 p.m. The Griffs suffered their first loss of the season against Harvard on Saturday, 16-6. The Red has won the last six meeting against the Griffs, including last year’s 14-4 victory.

“[Sunday’s] game will definitely help in building momentum and confidence for Canisius, but we cannot let it get to our heads. We have to prepare for Canisus and concentrate on getting our second win,” Pannell said.

Original Author: Jill Mendelsohn