The Cornell men’s lacrosse team improved to 2-2 with a win this past weekend, upsetting No. 17 Virginia in a 14-10 effort.
The win also improved the team’s all-time record against Virginia to 6-10, including three wins in its past four meetings with the Cavaliers.
“It was a complete team win,” said head coach Matt Kerwick. “Those are always exciting to be a part of as a coach. In terms of from a coaching perspective, it was one of the best team efforts I’ve been around in quite some time just in terms of everybody going out and doing their job and knowing their role and then performing up to the level they’re capable of.”
Senior goalkeeper Brennan Donville was the star of the match, picking up a career high 16 saves — 10 of which came in the third quarter — and limiting the powerful Cavalier offense to just 10 goals.
“10 saves in a quarter is not normal, and he was on it,” Kerwick said. “He was very focused, he was seeing the ball very well, and if he can get himself in position to have 11, 12, 13 saves a game and then every once and while steal some saves like he did yesterday, then we’re going to be in a position to win some tight ball games down the stretch.”
Brennan’s influence on the team goes deeper than being an excellent goalkeeper.
“He’s one of our best leaders and epitomizes what we want our players to be and that’s selfless, team-first guys,” Kerwick said. “He’s always been that way since he arrived on campus, so I’m very happy for Brennan cause he’s earned it.”
The match was neck-and-neck for the first three quarters and ended up tied going into the fourth. The Red then scored five goals in the fourth to seal the 14-10 victory.
The Cornell freshmen scored seven of the Red’s 14 goals. Freshman attack Colton Rupp led the charge with four, midfielder Clarke Petterson accounted for two and forward Ryan Bray added another. One of the team’s major goals all season has been to acclimate the large freshman class to the collegiate lacrosse environment.
“I think that this is a very hard working, determined group of young men,” Kerwick said. “They take great pride in representing cornell and playing the way that Cornell lacrosse always plays, which is a tough style, a physical style, a competitive style, and the team is doing a great job of that everyday at practice.”
The freshmen have shown marked improvement already this season. Rupp scored one goal in the first game of the season against Penn State, two against Hobart, and then four in each of the past two games. He is leading the team with 11 goals, which accounts for 28 percent of the team’s scoring over the season.
Petterson’s first two goals came in the Virginia game this past weekend, and Bray also now has three goals on the season after the Virginia game. Despite this improvement, though, outsiders can often judge a team too quickly by just looking at its makeup.
“I think there [are] a lot of teams [and] people counting Cornell lacrosse out because we dropped a one-goal game to Penn State on February 20th, and we know that we’re working extremely hard and it’s all about building throughout the course of the season,” Kerwick said. “We have a lot of growth to still happen.”
The Red travel to Hamilton, N.Y. tomorrow to take on Colgate, who the Red defeated in overtime last season, 10-9.
“Colgate’s an excellent team, and we’re at their place, so we’re going to have to put this one behind us and savor it and enjoy it,” Kerwick said. “It’s on to Colgate now and you’re only as good as your last game, so we need to go into Colgate playing even better than we played against Virginia.”