March 24, 2013

MEN’S LACROSSE | Red Suffers First Season Loss to Bucknell, Wins Against Ivy Rival Penn

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After a close 12-10 victory over No. 15 Yale, the Red suffered its first loss of the season Tuesday, 8-9, to No. 16 Bucknell. When No. 2 Cornell returned to the field this past Saturday against No. 7 Penn, however, redshirt senior Rob Pannell scored two goals — making him Cornell’s all-time leading scorer — and the Red improved its record to 2-0 in Ivy play.

The game against Yale was close from start to finish with Cornell taking its biggest lead, 9-6, on an unassisted goal by junior midfielder Mike O’Neil with 6:23 remaining in the third period.

The Bulldogs came firing back, outscoring the Red, 4-2, in the first 11 minutes of the final period to bring Yale within one goal of Cornell. The Red responded big, however, when senior Steve Mock received a pass from redshirt senior Rob Pannell and put the ball in the back of the net with 3:06 left in the game — extending the Red’s lead to 12-10 and ultimately putting the Bulldogs to rest.

“We kind of took their punch and responded back with a punch of our own,” said Pannell.

The goal was just one of Mock’s six on the day.

“Steve is one of our senior leaders,” said sophomore midfielder Connor Buczek. “He’s able to bury it … very impressively from any angle any amount of time, room, you name it.”

The Red returned to action Tuesday at a snowy Schoellkopf Field against the Bison in what turned out to be another close game.

Cornell was able to convert on eight of its 14 shots on goal but struggled to get the ball to the offensive end. According to Buczek, the Red had some difficulty with Bucknell’s 10-man ride.

“I think we could have just done a little better [of a] job of sticking to our game plan,” he said.

The Red started hot with three quick goals in the first 2:08 of the game and then added two more to take a commanding 5-0 lead with 10:01 remaining in the second period. Bucknell responded with a four goals over the span of three minutes, and the Red never led by more than two for the rest of the game. At the end of the second period, the Red was hanging on to the lead by a score of 6-5. Only one goal was scored in the third period when Bucknell’s Sean Doyle tied the game at six with 3:20 remaining.

According to Pannell the team’s defense did an excellent job of keeping the Red in the game despite its weakest offensive game of the season.

“Our defensive was great. [It] only let up nine goals,” he said.

The Red scored the first goal of the fourth period but then Bucknell recorded two in just 30 seconds to take an 8-7 lead with 7:12 remaining. Both teams went scoreless for the next five minutes before Cornell senior midfielder Max Van Bourgondien came up with an unassisted goal. Just when the Red seemed to have been building a bit of momentum, however, Bucknell’s Chase Bailey scored to give the Bison a 9-8 lead that they wouldn’t surrender.

Pannell said that the team’s inability to win faceoffs and play well in the clear was a contributing factor to the squad’s first defeat.

“Our offense didn’t do a great job,” he said. “We would throw it away in the clear or turn it over.”

When the Red took the field to bounce back against Penn it stepped up its performance during faceoffs, taking 10-of-19. The team also continued to play great defense, holding Penn to just five goals and ultimately doubling up on them with 10 on the offensive end.

According to Buzcek, the team is thrilled with the victory because it puts great emphasis on winning its Ivy League games.

“We don’t have to rely on anyone else if we can punch our own ticket with the automatic qualifier from the Ivy League,” he said.

One of the big stories of the day was Rob Pannell, whose two goals made him the all-time scoring leader in Cornell lacrosse history. Pannell has received a tremendous amount of national attention recently and was nominated for an ESPY Award for Male College Athlete of the Year in 2011.

For the redshirt senior, however, it is not about the individual awards, but the team’s success.

“We got the win, which was the most important part,” he said. “Now, we’re getting ready for Siena on Tuesday.”

Original Author: Skyler Dale