As a senior and an avid follower of Cornell Athletics, I have seen many great players for the Red in the past four years. Two of the best were Brianne Jenner ’15, former forward for women’s hockey and an Olympic gold medalist for Canada, as well as Gabe Dean ’17, star wrestler, two-time NCAA champion and four-time All-American. Yet, the very best Cornell athlete in the last four years may very well be Cornell lacrosse sophomore attack Jeff Teat.
In just his sophomore season, Teat is already making his mark on the Cornell lacrosse record books. After racking up 145 points in his final season at the Hill Academy (Ont.), he had a breakout freshman season at Cornell. He broke the freshman scoring record for the Red with 72 points, previously set by Rob Pannell ’13, one of the greatest NCAA men’s lacrosse players ever. Teat averaged two and a half goals per game as a freshman, nearly a hat trick in each contest. He would finish first in the Ivy League in both points and assists per game.
Prior to this season, Teat was named an Inside Lacrosse Preseason All-American and placed on watch list for the Tewaaraton Award, which is presented annually to the best player in college lacrosse. This shows the hype around Teat for his sophomore campaign, and he certainly has delivered. Through 12 games, his 33 goals and 44 assists total to 77 points — over six per game. It’s no surprise that he currently leads the country in points per game.
Yes, Teat’s statistics are certainly impressive. Yet, watching him play lacrosse is truly something else. He piles up so many goals and assists because of his spectacular movement off the ball. As the commentators noted in the big win over Syracuse, one would expect a player with Teat’s numbers to be a ball hog, like a lacrosse version of Carmelo Anthony.
But Teat is of a completely different mold. He often prefers to let his teammates pass the ball earlier in the move, using his excellent off-ball movement to lose defenders and find open space. Then, he takes a pass, and looks for a shot or a key pass to a teammate. His specialty is getting on the ball late in the move and producing the final pass to set up a teammate.
What is even more remarkable is that opponents know they need to key on Teat late in moves, yet he still excels at avoiding defensive attention to get the ball, finding an open teammate through a sea of sticks and helmets, and feeding the ball to him. In this way, he makes his teammates better, the true mark of a great player.
Not much was expected of Cornell lacrosse this season, as the squad was picked to finish fifth in the Ivy League. However, interim head coach Peter Milliman has gone to work and managed his squad to second in the Ivy League at this point. Teat’s contributions are a big reason why, as the team scored an impressive 65 goals in one three-game stretch and possess one of the most dangerous offenses in the country.
The Red has a number of goal scorers, but the assist provider is usually Teat. His movement and passing skills make the whole offense tick and is drawing national attention. Cornell lacrosse fans should be honored to watch his play on East Hill, as he surely will be remembered as one of the best to play for the Red for years to come.