April 21, 2011

After Upset Win Over ‘Cuse, Nation’s No. 3 Team Aims for Ivy Crown

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Coming off one of the biggest regular season wins in Cornell lacrosse’s recent history, the Red (9-2, 4-0 Ivy League) will travel to Providence, R.I. on Saturday to take on the struggling Bears of Brown (5-7, 1-3).

With a win, Cornell will lock up sole possession of the Ivy League title — potentially the 16th conference championship in school history — in addition to a seventh consecutive 10-win season and home field advantage throughout the conference championships. Brown is hoping for a big upset win for a shot to stay in the running for a spot in the Ivy tournament.

After beating then-undefeated No. 1 Syracuse last Tuesday in the Carrier Dome, the Red saw its ranking rise to No. 3 in the nation. Not only was Cornell able to come away with a crucial victory, but the team also controlled the game wire-to-wire, downing the Orange in convincing fashion, 11-6.

Looking back on the win, junior attackman and co-captain Rob Pannell praised the team’s ability to play well from start to finish, crediting the victory to playing the full 60 minutes and holding on to the initial lead.

Brown has endured an up-and-down season thus far, but is coming off a nice road win against Providence, where the Bears beat the Friars, 6-4, in a tough, defensive heavy contest. Other notable wins for the Bears include a close Ivy victory at home against Penn, 13-12, on April 9th, and a thrashing of Quinnipiac, 13-4, to open their season on February 26th.

Scouting the Bears, Pannell determined that the biggest challenge for the Red will be controlling the tempo and overall style of play for the game. “They like to play their style of lacrosse … they want to get teams to play their style of play,” Pannell said.

“[Brown] has the best man-down defense in the country,” added freshman midfielder Mike O’Neil, who has come on strong for the Red during the second half of the season. “We have to go in the game knowing that they can take one from us… we can’t come out lightly.”

With the season on the line for the Bears, Cornell expects a motivated and charged-up Brown squad come game day.

“They’re going to play all-out … they’re going to come out ready to go,” Pannell said.

With the team undefeated since a March 12th loss to Virginia, Pannell says he’s seen a change in the confidence and mentality of the Red.

“Since that game, guys have gained a lot of confidence, and are playing with confidence,” he noted.

Junior attackman Parker Brown leads the Bears’ offense with 32 points and 14 assists. Senior attackman Andrew Feinberg sits atop the team’s scoring chart with 22 goals and 84 shots attempted thus far.

Senior goalie Matt Chriss anchors Brown’s defense, and has had a solid season to this point. Chriss has started all 12 of Brown’s games and has an impressive 7.8 goals against average.

The game is set to begin at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Brown’s Stevenson Field.

Original Author: Holden Steinhauer