April 8, 2010

Men’s Lacrosse Seeks to Bounce Back From Loss, Meets Harvard at Home

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After an upsetting loss to Dartmouth last week, the No. 10 men’s lacrosse team is ready to bounce back and learn from its mistakes as it faces its next opponent – Harvard, in a Saturday afternoon matchup on Schoellkopf Field.

“Coming out of a tough loss this past weekend, we definitely have refocused and need to play the best we can each week. Harvard has been a nail-biter the last few years, so we know this is an extremely important game,” said junior David Lau.

Cornell (7-2, 2-1 Ivy) has been working hard during its practices, in the lead-up to tomorrow’s game. The team has been practicing plays, and watching films on its newest opponent. One of the specific aspects of play that the team has paid particular attention to in practice was maintaining control of the ball and the game, towards the end of the match, when the other team is trying to mount a last-second comeback. In addition, the Red has been improving its ability to pick up groundballs, a little item that is crucial to Cornell’s success.

“We have been practicing hard all week and have put an emphasis on our groundball game. We need to continue to win the battles in areas such as riding and faceoffs,” said Shane O’Neill.

“Harvard is definitely a talented and tough team, with great offensive threats and have had a lot of success this year,” Lau said.

After Duke defeated Harvard, 14-5, in last weekend’s game, the Red is hoping to start off the game with a strong momentum and cause the Crimson to lose confidence early on. Cornell leads the all-time series against Harvard 59-23. Also, the Red has been victorious in the last 11 games between these two foes, including last year’s 13-12 victory.

After tallying a hat trick in the game against Dartmouth, sophomore Rob Pannell, stands fourth in the nation with 4.67 points per game. Pannell leads the Red with 15 goal and 26 assists, for 41 points, yet senior Ryan Hurley has netted the most goals this season (26). In addition, Cornell has three other players – Scott Austin, Chris Ritchie, and Chris Langton – whom have all reached double-digit tallies. In goal for the Red, freshman A.J. Fiore has played every game this season, posting an 8.22 goals-against average and a .535 save percentage.

Dean Gibbons leads the Crimson with 30 points on 19 goals and 11 assists, while Jeff Cohen is second with 25 points. In the net, Harry Krieger and Christian Coates share playing time, with Krieger posting an 11.09 goals-against average and a .479 save percentage. Coates has a 9.62 goals-against mark and a .52 save percentage.

“Well we have been working on getting back to who we are as a program. We believe our work ethic has become the key to our success in years past, and that is how we will earn a win on Saturday.  We need to learn from our mistakes in last week’s game, both offensively and defensively,” Lau said.

A win tomorrow would benefit the Red for several reasons, besides the obvious one of another “W” in the left-hand column. Cornell hopes to win tomorrow, and then carry that momentum over into its midweek game against Syracuse on Tuesday.

Original Author: Jill Mendelsohn