March 29, 2012

M. LACROSSE | Squad Sees Room For Improvement In Future Games

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Following a three-win Spring Break, the men’s lacrosse team hits the road this weekend for a showdown with Ancient Eight foe Dartmouth. The Red takes to the turf at Scully-Fahey Field in Hanover, N.H. on Saturday for a 1 p.m. match-up with the Green.

The No. 4/5 Red (6-1, 2-0 Ivy League) currently sits atop the Ivy League, sharing the spot with No. 11 Princeton and Harvard. Following a tough overtime loss at the hands of current-No. 2 Virginia at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium in the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic, the Red was able to regroup and claim three wins over break, including its first two Ivy League wins of the season, as it took down Yale, No. 10 Denver and Penn.

While the Red appears to enter the contest on a strong note, Dartmouth (2-4, 0-1 Ivy League) enters Saturday’s tilt in desperate need of an Ivy win. The Green began its season strong, earning two close victories; however, the team has not been able to claim a win since March 3, going on a four-game losing streak, including losing to No. 8 Duke in a 20-9 blowout on March 18.

While results might suggest that the Red has played well in recent weeks, the team is not happy with the way things have been going in the past few games, according to senior midfielder Scott Austin.

“While we’re happy that we got three wins over our spring break … we didn’t necessarily play our best lacrosse,” he said. “We played really sloppy offense and we had missed assignments on defense. [But,] we’re happy with our resiliency and being able to come out on top in the end.”

Though Dartmouth has been struggling this season, Austin said the Red knows that it is not a team that can be taken lightly — as is the case with every Ivy League opponent.

“In the Ivy League, every game you throw records out the window,” he said. “Two years ago we lost to them, 8-5, when we were going in the more talented team.”

According to senior midfielder Chip Daugherty, the Green brings more to the table than people might suspect.

“Dartmouth is a much better team than their record reflects,” he said. “They’ve got a number of really talented offensive players, who have the ability to score. They have a tough defense. It’s a home game for them and they’re in a desperate position in the Ivy League and they’re going to be ready to give us their best shot and deliver a knockout punch right away in Hanover on Saturday.”

Some of the Green’s players that Daugherty warned about include senior attackman Drew Tunney, who has tallied 23 points on the season, and junior midfielder Chris Costabile, who leads the team with 12 goals. Dartmouth also gains support from senior midfielder Alex Del Balso, who has won 60 face-offs and nabbed 33 ground balls.

Even though some members of the Red say they are not completely satisfied with the way things have been going, Cornell remains in the company of the elite teams in the NCAA as it moves past the half-way point in the regular season.

“The season is a work in progress,” Austin said. “We’re always trying to get better in every phase of the game. We’ve been trying to … play smarter. Mostly during the week we’re working on improving our own game.”

While the Red busied itself over the past week, preparing for the matchup in Hanover, the Ivy League handed out weekly awards — naming junior attacker Steve Mock the Ivy League Player of the Week and freshman attacker Matt Donovan a Co-Rookie of the Week, his second of the season.

A win over Dartmouth on Saturday would leave the Red undefeated in Ivy play and continue the team’s best start since head coach Ben DeLuca started at Cornell.

Original Author: Zach Waller