With the first win of 2018 under its belt, Cornell men’s lacrosse will attempt to shock No. 1 Albany in potentially its toughest matchup of the young season.
The upcoming contest this Saturday comes about a year after a resounding 17-6 loss to the Great Danes at home last season, which gave the Red its worst start since 1997.
This time around, Albany (2-0) is the top team in the nation in the Inside Lacrosse poll while Cornell (1-1) has received no votes.But the Red will look to return the favor on Albany’s turf in the hopes of spoiling the home team’s No. 1 ranking.
“Albany’s very confident; we need to go in with an edge as well,”said interim head coach Peter Milliman. “I think we need to go in that game knowing that we belong and doing a good job to execute our assignments.”
The team is headed in the right direction after grabbing a 15-8 win over Hobart for its first win of the season, despite trailing 5-1 early in the first quarter. Getting out of the gate with a lack of energy is a point which the team hopes to fix going forward.
“[The players] were really excited to get that first w[in],” Milliman said. “They’ve been working hard; they deserve it. They played pretty well, other than another slow start, which has been our focus for the week.”
The Red exhibited resilience, scoring nine unanswered goals en route to victory over the Statesmen.
Nevertheless, the Great Danes are a far more formidable opponent than Hobart, having led the country in scoring in 2017 with 15.39 goals per game.
“We have to keep them away from the goal,” Milliman said. “We’ve got to win our matchups.”
Albany’s high-powered offense will be a major concern for a Cornell squad that ranked 68th with respect to team defense last season, allowing 13.46 goals per game.
“[Albany does] have a very good offense and a lot of good guys that like to get to the goal,” said senior defenseman Jake Pulver. “But hopefully we can play as a unit, be fast in between plays and off ball and prevent them from scoring goals.”
As for last weekend, the Red struggled on the clear against Hobart, failing to convert six times throughout the contest.
“Letting our guys clear the ball, knowing the system and running it properly has been important,” Milliman said. “But I think when we tell them to do something specific, they want to do what coach says, but it can cause some riffs.”
Cornell boasts a strong offense of its own as it ranked 15th nationally last season, posting 11.69 goals per game, with sophomore attack Jeff Teat leading the way with 72 points.
“Right now we are all feeling comfortable with each other, we kind of broke out last game,” he said of the offensive group. “In practice everyday we have good chemistry. We really like where we are at right now.”
Teat set the tone last weekend, leading the way with a 10-point performance that earned him USILA Team of the Week honors.
Junior attack Clark Petterson also contributed to the group’s offensive production, notching four goals of his own for his 13th straight game recording a point.
Like Cornell, Albany has already played two games, including a statement 15-3 victory over No. 8 Syracuse. But the Red has a chip on its shoulder with the opportunity to upset the Great Danes on the road.
“I think you have to go in there with that mentality,” Teat said. “If you don’t, you’re just going to expect to get rolled over, expect to lose. We are not going in that way; we are going in with confidence.”
“We go into every game thinking we can win,” Pulver added. “It’s going to be great atmosphere going in there, into their own house and trying to stick it to them.”
Action begins 1 p.m. Saturday. at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium in Albany.