This post has been updated.
When it rains, it pours.
At least that was the case at a cold and wet Schoellkopf field on Tuesday evening, as Cornell men’s lacrosse put on an offensive showcase, defeating Air Force by a score of 23-5.
After an explosive first quarter which saw the Red (5-3, 1-1 Ivy) score the game’s first seven goals, Cornell was in the driver’s seat early and had no trouble dispatching the Falcons (3-7, 1-1 Southern Conference).
“I thought we came out really well,” said interim head coach Peter Milliman. “Getting the ball to our offense the first few times and producing goals really set the tone for us.”
Sophomore FOGO Paul Rasimowicz was a major factor in Cornell’s run to start the game, dominating faceoff after faceoff in the opening quarter and allowing his team to win the possession battle.
“Faceoffs are a unique component to the game breakdown, and they’re a challenge in every game,” Milliman said. “And obviously when you get a possession after a goal it gives the team a lot of life, especially when you can score on consecutive possessions.”
Rasimowicz won 18 of 24 faceoffs on the day — a solid effort that reflected a continuation of improvement from the start of the season. The sophomore has now registered five straight games with a faceoff winning percentage over 50 percent.
“I think we’ve just been putting a lot of work into the faceoff game,” Rasimowicz said of his improvement. “Specifically working with our wings … and everything is just starting to click.”
Also a major factor in Cornell’s tone-setting stretch early on was sophomore attack Jeff Teat, who assisted on three of the game’s first four goals.
“I was just seeing how they were playing their defense right away,” Teat said. “At the time it seemed like they were kind of sticking to their man pretty tightly, so at that point I felt like I was trying to be more of a distributor, seeing guys open.”
In typical fashion for the second-year standout, Teat led all scorers with three goals and four assists. But late in the game, some unfamiliar offensive faces got involved in the action, including sophomore midfielder Griffin Buczek, who scored his first two collegiate goals.
“I thought [Buczek] was very good, we used him offensively and defensively,” Milliman said.
It was the second straight game in which the Red posted at least 20 goals and the 23 tallies were the most for a Cornell team in more than 20 years.
In the cage, sophomore Caelahn Bullen was once again tasked with filling in for senior Christian Knight, who left early in last Saturday’s game against Penn and did not play Tuesday. Knight had been one of the most reliable assets for Cornell, boasting a top-10 save percentage nationally.
Milliman declined to comment on the nature of Knight’s absence, but the keeper appeared to suffer an injury against Penn, according to Inside Lacrosse.
Bullen made six saves in the first three quarters before being replaced by freshman Parker Henderer who played the final quarter.
Cornell executed things well on the clear, going a near-perfect 14 for 15, and won the ground ball battle decisively, 35-18.
“I thought we were pretty consistent on the clear, doing well on ground balls,” Milliman said. “[We were] making the defense work to defend us so that we could play team offense.”
The win was Cornell’s second straight and 750th in program history, a mark achieved by only six other Division I NCAA lacrosse teams.
“Knowing the tradition and the history of this program … it’s humbling to have an opportunity to be a part of these wins,” Milliman said.
Cornell is back in action this Saturday when it travels to Hanover for a conference matchup with Dartmouth.