May 5, 2010

Men’s Lacrosse Hosts Inaugural Ivy League Tournament

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After winning a crucial game against Princeton last weekend, the men’s lacrosse team is headed into postseason play, as it faces Brown tomorrow night in the first-ever Ivy League Championship. Played in a single-elimination format, four Ancient Eight teams are vying to gain an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Cornell (9-4, 4-2 Ivy), the number one seed in the tournament, will face No. 4 Brown (8-5, 4-2 Ivy) in the first round for a chance to compete against the winner of the No. 2 Princeton (9-4, 4-2 Ivy) versus No. 3 Yale (10-3, 4-2 Ivy) game on Sunday, May 9. “We’ve been fortunate enough to have made it to the tournament and host the first tournament, and we’d like to keep our season going for our seniors,” said junior David Lau.  Cornell, Brown, Princeton and Yale all enter the tournament posting a 4-2 record in the Ivy League.With the victory against Princeton last weekend, the Red earned a share of its eighth straight Ivy League title, the longest run for men’s lacrosse program in any conference. Cornell will look to avenge its loss to Brown, when the Bears defeated the Red, 13-10, earlier in the season. Utilizing the home field advantage, Cornell is hoping to extend its seniors’ playing time at Schoellkopf Field.   “We as a team are definitely more focused than the last meeting with Brown. We didn’t feel we gave the best we could have, so right now we’re focusing on bringing the effort that has been representative of Cornell lacrosse in past years,” Lau said.  With strong attackers, the Red’s defense will need to shut down the Bears in order for the Red’s offense to work its magic and put up an early lead. With six players tallying more than 20 points each this season ––including leading scorer Andrew Feinberg –– Cornell will have to put to use all its lacrosse knowledge to best Brown. For the Red, sophomore Rob Pannell leads the team with 61 points coming from his 22 goals and 39 assists.  Brown, on the other hand, has relied on its strong defensive work ethic to hold its opponents to an average of 9.88 goals per contest. Between the pipes for the Bears, starting goaltender Matt Chriss boasts a .481 save percentage to add to the Bears’ intimidating set of team numbers. In Cornell’s 46-game history against the Bears, the Red has come out on top 32 times, compared to the Bears’ 16. However, Cornell’s program has been growing stronger in recent years by notching six victories in its last eight matchups against Brown. After all the practice and hard work throughout the preseason and season, the men’s lacrosse team’s future is on the line this weekend. Clinching the Ivy League Championship would grant the Red its 22nd bid to the NCAA tournament. “I think the biggest change is the effort we put forward on the field. We believe, our success has relied on our efforts throughout the week’s practice as well as on the field,” Lau said.

Original Author: Jill Mendelsohn