April 11, 2013

MEN’S LACROSSE | Laxers Fall to Syracuse After Late Orange Offensive Surge

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With just 22 seconds remaining in a game that had gone back and forth for nearly 60 minutes, Cornell senior midfielder Connor English beat his defender, drew back his stick and fired the ball at the Syracuse goal — only to have the shot deflect off the cross-bar, preventing the Red from tying up the match and ending Wednesday’s game in a 13-12 loss to the Orange.

No. 2 Cornell (10-2, 4-0 Ivy) entered the contest on a four-game winning streak that included successes over Ivy League rivals Harvard, Penn and Dartmouth.

Wednesday’s game against No. 8 Syracuse began in Cornell’s favor with an assisted goal by Max Van Bourgondien, followed by goals from Steve Mock, John Hogan and Connor Buczek, each assisted by redshirt senior attackman Rob Pannell.

After the Red’s strong start, the Orange responded by scoring four of the next six goals to cut the Red’s lead in half at the end of the first quarter, 6-4.

According to Pannell, the Red missed the chance to secure a comfortable lead.

“We had a number of opportunities both offensively and defensively … to put Syracuse away and extend our lead to four or five goals,” he said. “But [we] didn’t capitalize and allowed Syracuse to hang around.”

The Red had another chance to jump out to a big lead with three straight goals — two at the end of the second and one in the beginning of the third from Buczek — to give the Red a 9-6 advantage.

The Red was again unable to contain a Syracuse comeback, however, and by the end of the third, the Cornell lead was down to just one.

The Orange took its first lead with just over six minutes left in the fourth period and then extended that lead to two goals with five minutes to play.

The Red fought back with an unassisted goal from English to cut the lead to 13-12, but was unable to score for the next four minutes and suffered its second defeat of the season when English’s shot to tie the game fell short.

“Connor had a good match up and we couldn’t have asked for a better look at the cage, but sometimes the ball just doesn’t bounce your way,” Pannell said. “That one play doesn’t determine the outcome of the game, though.”

The Red defense, which allows just eight goals a game, was unable to hold Syracuse’s offensive ability and prowess at the midfielder position.

“I think our defense was lacking tonight in a major way,” head coach Ben DeLuca said in a statement after the game. “We had a lot of unforced errors on our end and Syracuse — like all good teams do — took advantage.”

Despite the loss, the Red sits atop the Ivy League, and, according to Pannell, the team can use the game as a learning experience moving forward.

“We learned that we can be as good as we want to be or bad as we want to be, and that we are our own worst enemy,” he said.  “We lost ourselves that game by making a number of mistakes. [We] need to learn from them and limit them as we move forward in facing a tough opponent in Brown next Saturday.”

Original Author: Skyler Dale