In a showcase of its grit and late-game intensity, Cornell men’s lacrosse defeated Penn State on Saturday afternoon at U.S. Lacrosse’s Tierney Field in Maryland.
Despite trailing 3-0 after the opening quarter, the Red (3-2) held steady throughout, ultimately overpowering the Nittany Lions (4-3) in the final frame, scoring six times in the fourth en route to a 9-7 victory. With the win, Cornell secured a winning record for the first time in nearly two years.
“The guys really showed some heart,” said interim head coach Peter Milliman. “They wanted to win the game.”
Sophomore attack Jeff Teat led the way for the Red, notching six points on two goals and four assists. Senior midfielder Jordan Dowiak and sophomore attack Clarke Petterson added a trio of goals each in a display of Cornell’s familiar offensive faces.
“[Teat] is a very high level attackman,” Milliman said. “He’s patient, he dodges, not for himself but for his team … he’s always looking for his teammates.”
Down 6-2 near the end of the third, Cornell scored four unanswered to tie the game before Penn State restored its lead by one goal. But that would be all for the Penn State scoresheet, as the Red notched the game’s final three tallies to secure the victory.
“I thought our guys showed some real toughness at the end of the game,” Milliman said. “They kind of willed their way back in there. I think we were working on some things that they found a way to fix late in the game.”
Senior goaltender Christian Knight continued his strong start to the season, making 13 saves as a reliable backstop for the Cornell defense.
“[Knight] is not even reliably good, he’s reliably great right now,” Milliman said. “He was seeing the ball very well today. They got a couple in on him early, but he really performed down the stretch when he needed to.”
Cornell won the discipline battle in crunch time, committing just one penalty on the day while the Nittany Lions had four in the final quarter alone.
“I think our guys typically are a pretty disciplined team,” Milliman said. “I think they stay inside of our system and stay inside of themselves.”
The Red’s struggles on faceoffs continued Saturday afternoon, winning eight draws to Penn State’s 11. On the clear, Cornell was 12 of 16 for a .750 percentage, showing a regression to its early season troubles.
“[Clearing] is more than an issue, it’s a problem for us right now,” Milliman said. “We need to get better at those.”
The win is the Red’s first over a ranked opponent since it topped then-No. 13 Princeton in last season’s final contest. Dating back to April 1 of last year, Cornell is 7-4 in its last 11 games.
“We are definitely ready to be winners,” Milliman said. “Guys definitely take pride in the success of this program and put in the hard work to make it successful. I think they’re definitely excited to be competitive.”
The Red is back in action next Saturday when it opens Ivy League play against Yale at Schoellkopf field at 1 p.m.