April 21, 2013

M. LACROSSE | Laxers Clinch 27th Conference Title

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Following a 13-7 victory over Brown (6-6, 1-4 Ivy League) Saturday, the No. 7 Red (11-2, 5-0) clinched its 27th conference title and moved one step closer to an NCAA Tournament appearance. The team set a few records along the way, including breaking the tie with Princeton for the most conference crowns.

The regular season title guarantees the Red an opportunity to host the Ivy League Tournament — the final league action of the year.

“We’re excited to bring the Ivy Tournament back to Ithaca, New York, for the third time in the last four years — to give our fans at least one more chance to see our team at home,” said head coach Ben DeLuca ’98. “I know our guys are very excited to host the tournament for the third time.”

Senior attackman Steve Mock got the Red on the board early off of an assist from senior midfielder Max Van Bourgondien. From there, the Red rolled to a 3-0 advantage in the first quarter. Senior goalkeeper A.J. Fiore, who finished the game with 10 saves, helped preserve the lead with several impressive stops that stifled the Brown attack.

“I thought A.J. was good in goal,” DeLuca said. “He saw the ball well, made some big saves for us. I was really pleased with our man-down. I thought our man-down played real well, killed a number of opportunities for [Brown] — kind of kept them at bay.”

The Red extended the lead to 10-3 by the beginning of the fourth to all but secure a Cornell victory.

The 13-7 effort marked a strong all-around performance for the Red, but junior midfielder Doug Tesoriero was perhaps the most impressive of the bunch, winning 19 of 24 restarts and recovering 12 ground balls.

“I thought Doug and our faceoff wings were outstanding controlling possession for us, getting it to our offensive end … [and] I thought we did a good job off the ground, ” DeLuca said.

Mock led the team in scoring with three goals, and sophomore midfielder Connor Buczek continued to impress with two goals and an assist.

“I thought it was an exciting game,” Buczek said. “We played a little sloppy — sloppier than we would have liked, but glad to get the win and definitely great to take the outright Ivy League Championship home with us.

In addition to the team’s record-setting Ivy League title, senior attackman Rob Pannell notched his own spot in Ancient Eight history by becoming the all-time Ivy points leader.

“[I’m] so proud to have [Pannell] as a member of our team, as a captain of our team,” DeLuca said “To see his hard work starting to pay off and for him to break that record is incredible. He’s just such a tremendous leader for us. He does so much on the field as well as off the field, and [I’m] very proud for him to break that record today, when we win the outright championship.”

Pannell broke the points record on an unassisted goal late in the third to surpass the reigning record holder Darren Lowe, who fittingly starred for Brown from 1989-1992. With one assist and two goals on the day, Pannell now has an unprecedented 318 points in his Cornell career.

Although the Red remains in pursuit of the ultimate goal — a national title — the team will at least be able to celebrate achieving another objective it set for itself prior to the season — reclaiming the Ivy League Championship Trophy.

“We’re excited to get the win,” DeLuca said. “I still think there’s some room for improvement for our guys in terms of some of the play we had on the field today, but [I’m] excited for the way our seniors came out strong. We imposed our will early on and controlled the game. [I’m] thrilled for our senior class to win an outright Ivy Championship and to bring the Ivy League Championship trophy back to Ithaca.”

With one game remaining in the regular season, the Red will battle No. 12 Princeton (8-4, 3-2) Saturday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. in the opening game of Inside Lacrosse’s Big City Classic.

Original Author: Chris Mills