In a critical game to remain in contention for postseason play, Cornell wilted against the most potent offensive attack in the country and limped to a 22-5 defeat at the hands of Brown.
The Bears never trailed in the victory over the Red this past Saturday, scoring the most goals at Schoellkopf since 1998. Brown established a 6-1 lead after the first quarter and used that positive momentum to build a lead that Cornell (6-6, 1-4 Ivy) was never able to overcome.
“Brown was making plays all over the field,” said head coach Matt Kerwick. “They put us on our heels early, and unfortunately we couldn’t dig out of it.”
The Bears (12-1, 5-0 Ivy) took 53 shots, 39 of which were on goal and continued its surgical precision on offense and forceful aggression on defense.
“Instead of backing off, they would come flying at us,” said senior midfielder John Edmonds. “They’d throw crazy checks that you don’t see every day. I think in terms of aggression, they were a much more aggressive bunch than what we’ve seen.”
This relentless offense meant that senior goalkeeper Brennan Donville faced a very difficult task. Yet despite score, Kerwick praised Donville’s efforts.
“He was outstanding,” Kerwick said of Donville. “[Brown] just put so much pressure on [us], and we knew that coming in, but it’s hard to simulate in practice. They’re the number one scoring offense in the country for a reason.”
Donville finished the day with a career-high 16 saves.
This was the fourth time the Bears have scored at least 20 points in a game this season and the tenth time they have scored at least 15.
“It’s a different style,” Kerwick said. “They cross the midline, and they’re going.”
He also mentioned how it is difficult to prepare for this style of play in practice.
“[You have] to tip your cap to those guys because they were earning those goals and putting them in good spots,” Kerwick said.
Outside of Donville’s effort, there were some other positives in the game, although few and far between.
The Red’s ground ball play was solid in the first half, when the team picked up 26 ground balls compared to Brown’s 20. Additionally, junior midfielder Domenic Massimilian won 13-of-27 face-offs to become the third player in Cornell history with at least 400 career face-off wins.
“I thought the ground ball play for us was good in the first half, but unfortunately we couldn’t cash in and finish plays on the offensive end [and] we weren’t getting stops on the defensive end,” Kerwick said. “In the second half, they out-worked us off the ground as well.”
Senior attack Kylor Bellistri led the Bears with four goals and also added two assists, and junior attack Dylan Molloy added three goals and three assists of his own. These two players are tied for third in the nation in points per game (3.33). To score 22 points, though, all of Brown’s starters played an excellent game.
“Brown put together an outstanding effort today [and] really finished every opportunity they could,” Kerwick said. “They didn’t miss, and it’s something that we’re going to have to learn from and get better from.”
On Cornell’s side, sophomore midfielder Kason Tarbell led the Red with two goals, and freshman attack Colton Rupp, sophomore midfielder Jordan Dowiak and freshman attack Anthony Teixeira all added a goal apiece. Rupp now has 22 goals on the season.
Nevertheless, the Red will have to put this game in the past and immediately focus on its last game of the season this weekend against rival Princeton (4-8, 1-4 Ivy).
“We have to put this one behind us because now it’s a pride game against our biggest rival in Princeton next weekend,” Kerwick said. “The focus has to go to that.”