Jason Ben Nathan | Sun Senior Photographer

Senior Ryan Matthews' hat trick wasn't enough for Cornell to upset Yale.

March 21, 2016

Cornell Men’s Lacrosse Unable to Answer Big Second Half From No. 3 Yale, Falls to 3-3

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The Cornell men’s lacrosse team dropped a match to No. 3 Yale this past Saturday, 15-9, worsening its record to 3-3 for the season. This is the first time the Bulldogs have defeated the Red in the regular season since 1999.

“For most of the game, we were pretty sharp on offense and created opportunities,” said freshman attack Colton Rupp, who had a hat trick in the game to continue his stellar rookie campaign.

“I think in the second half we got a little insistent and started turning the ball over a little too much and I think that made a difference there,” Rupp said.

The Red’s nine goals are the most the Bulldogs have let in all season, and Cornell played a strong first first half, entering the break trailing only by one.

Rupp emphasized that the Red’s offense has come a long way since the beginning of the season.

“I think we’re starting to play more free and that’s allowed us to score more goals in the game and get better chances,” Rupp said.

Yale (6-0, 1-0 Ivy) has had a very strong team this year, and the team’s undefeated record includes an 8-5 win over No. 6 Maryland. The Red was able to handle the Bulldogs in the first two quarters but an 8-3 Yale run in the second half sealed the victory.

“In the second half, they kind of ramped it up and on us and scored a bunch of goals and we weren’t able to stay with them,” said senior defender Tony Britton.

Britton added that he was proud of how the Red’s young offense has progressed.

“I’m pretty excited with the way the offense has developed over the course of the season thus far,” Britton said. “Hopefully, over time we’ll just continue to get better.”

The Red continues Ivy League play this weekend against its rival Penn, and Britton said the team knows a victory is essential to regain positive momentum after the loss to Yale.

“[Penn] is on a level playing field with us this season and we know that this game is going to be very important to the rest of our season,” Britton said. “Coming into Ivy League play, winning a head-to-head game against Penn is going to be big for us because if we do in fact beat them it will serve as the tie-breaker for Ivy League tournament ramifications.”

Rupp said the team is itching to get back on the field against the Quakers this weekend.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for us to come out and get a win,” Rupp said. “We’re just going to get back to work from last week and make corrections and I think we’re more than excited to get a chance to play at Penn this Saturday.”

The teams of the Ivy League are playing some of the best lacrosse in the country right now, with two teams ranking in the top four in the country. Competition noticeably intensifies as in-conference play ramps up at this point in the season. The Yale game was Rupp’s first taste of this frenzied in-game atmosphere.

“I definitely think Ivy League games are definitely the most competitive,” he said. “You just feel it when you step out into the field.”

Britton agreed that the in-conference portion of the schedule is a major focus for the team.

“We definitely put more emphasis on Ivy League play because … that’s our ticket each year for the Ivy League [tournament],” he said.

The Red will not let this loss affect its play going forward, said Britton. According to the national rankings, Yale is the best team in the Ivy League, and the Red still has five more Ivy League matches to set themselves up in good position for the postseason.