The men’s lacrosse team established its place atop the conference standings on Saturday as the Red (7-2, 3-0 Ivy League) defeated Dartmouth (4-4, 1-1), more than doubling the offensive output of the rival Green, 19-8, at Schoellkopf Field. The heavily lopsided score was not even entirely indicative of the Red’s dominance, as Cornell slowed things down after leading by a wide margin at half time, 11-3. In total, 11 different players registered goals, led by junior co-captain Rob Pannell, who picked up his 200th career point.
“I think it says a lot about our depth right now,” Pannell said of the team’s ability to get so many players involved offensively. “There are a lot of guys that can play.”
As he has all season, Pannell led the Cornell offense, finishing with a game-high nine points on four goals and five assists en route to hitting the 200 mark.
“I don’t want to say I was thinking about it, but I did know I was nine points away,” Pannell admitted. “I’m not going to lie, I did know it was my 200th point, but I was just more excited for the win.”
“I think we’re successful with anyone on the field, but Rob … makes unbelievable plays one after the other,” added senior midfielder David Lau.
As discussion begins to escalate regarding Pannell and the Tewaaraton Trophy, the co-captain has worked hard to remain focused on the team’s success rather than his own accolades.
“I try not to think about that stuff,” Pannell said. “I know that the individual honors that I’m fortunate enough to receive are because of my team’s success … It’s in the back of my mind, but winning and my team are what come first.”
Sophomore attackman Steve Mock provided plenty of fire power for the Cornell offense in the game as well, connecting on all five of his shots on goal. Junior midfielder Roy Lang added two goals of his own in the Ivy victory.
Cornell led the Green in most statistical categories on the afternoon, but one of particular significance was freshman midfielder Doug Tesoriero winning 11-of-16 face-off attempts.
In contrast to the rest of the game, the first quarter was largely uneventful and lackadaisical for the Red, according to Pannell.
“I think in the first quarter we were kind of like, ‘what’s going on here,’” he said. “We were a little surprised, a little rattled.”
Once the team found a rhythm it quickly exploded offensively scoring six unanswered goals in the second quarter in under four and a half minutes.
“In the second quarter we were able to see what the defense was trying to do,” Pannell explained. “We figured out what their calls were, when they were going to zone, when they were going to [man-to-man].”
“They played a zone and we just had to stay patient and poised and work together,” Lau added.
As it has been of late, the Cornell defense was stellar, forcing 19 Dartmouth turnovers and allowing only 20 shots on goal. Goalkeepers A.J. Fiore and Andrew West combined for 12 saves, with Fiore picking up the win.
Pannell notes that the Red seems to be building more confidence as the regular season winds down and the postseason grows closer, especially after such a vital conference victory.
“We’ve been playing really well and we’ve been getting wins, which is [most] important,” Pannell said. “The more and more we’re playing together, the better we’re playing.”
“I think we’re pretty confident,” Lau added. “We just want to get better every single week and learn from our mistakes.”
The Red’s next game will be this Saturday at 2:10 p.m. against the Harvard Crimson in Cambridge, Mass.
Original Author: Holden Steinhauer