May 28, 2010

UPDATED 6-1-10: No. 7 Men’s Lacrosse Upset by Notre Dame, 12-7, in Semifinal of NCAA Tournament

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The men’s lacrosse team suffered a 12-7 loss at the hands of Notre Dame in the first semifinal match of the 2010 NCAA tournament at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md.The No. 7 men’s lacrosse team fell in the opening match of the Final Four in Baltimore, Md., on Saturday afternoon. Despite strong offensive attempts by the Red, the team was unable to get past the Irish defense –– namely Notre Dame goalie Scott Rodgers –– and experienced its worst NCAA tournament loss since 2008.

The game started out promising for the Red as it got on the scoreboard early and maintained a 1-0 lead for seven minutes. Sophomore midfielder Roy Lang was able to find space between four Notre Dame defenders and score high between the pipes just 1:27 into the game. However, Notre Dame was able to net the equalizer and proceeded to add two more, concluding the first quarter, 3-1, in Notre Dame’s favor. While the Red attempted to recover, it never managed to pull equal with the Irish and was held to one goal on nine shots in the first quarter.

“When you take nine shots on cage and only have one goal you’re not going to come out feeling all that good about yourself,” said Cornell head coach Jeff Tambroni.

The second quarter witnessed similar action. The Irish tallied another one as Notre Dame’s Zach Brenneman sent his 24th goal of the season into freshman goalie A.J. Fiore’s cage, adding to a 4-0 run for Notre Dame that held Cornell scoreless for over 15 minutes. Freshman attackman Steve Mock was eventually able to halve Notre Dame’s lead, but Notre Dame responded within two minutes to bring the score to 5-2. Mock added one more for the quarter, but so did the Irish, making the score 6-3 going into the half.

“In the first half [Rodgers] had 10 saves, and credit to him for playing great, and doing his job and keeping those guys in it. We were getting great looks. We didn’t hit some of the shots we needed to or would have liked to early. The momentum never seemed to go our way,” said senior co-captain Ryan Hurley.

Mock notched a hat trick in the third quarter, and freshman attackman Ross Gillum scored his first postseason goal in the third, yet the lucky Irish added two more of their own. Gillum earned another point as he assisted Cornell’s next goal, scored by Hurley with 6:08 remaining in the game, cutting the deficit to three. However, Notre Dame refused to give anything up and quickly turned a 9-6 lead into a 12-6 score, before the dynamic Red duo of Hurley and sophomore attackman Rob Pannell scored a man-up goal to –– if nothing else –– end the season on a symbolic note. The game culminated in a 12-7 upset of the Red, allowing Notre Dame to move on to its first-ever NCAA tournament final against eventual-champion Duke.

Cornell dominated in shots, ground balls and face-offs, but this proved not enough. Rodgers was able to stay all over the net, and the Notre Dame defense was able to hold top attackmen Hurley and Pannell to a mere two goals and three assists in total.

“Scott Rodgers did a great job of making saves. We were shooting at places that we thought were going to go in. Credit to him for doing a great job; he had 16 saves on the day, so it’s just a credit to him and the defense around him,” Pannell said.

Thus, Cornell’s 2010 lacrosse season comes to a close after a longer-than-expected and improved run by the Red, in front of not only the 44,000+ people present at M&T Bank Stadium, but also the television viewers watching from all over the country on ESPN2. Though Notre Dame was able to almost double Cornell’s score, the fact of the matter remains that the Red did boast the youngest squad of any team in the Final Four.

“I’ve never been so proud of the way they played. Our captains Ryan Hurley and Pierce Derkac just did a tremendous job this year at bringing this group along at a pace that was conducive to our youth and immaturity to a point right here,” Tambroni said.

Original Author: Reena Gilani