After dropping its first two conference games of the season, Cornell men’s lacrosse reasserted its dominance by earning a pair of Ivy victories to even its league record and keep itself in the conversation for a bid to the Ivy League tournament in New York City next month.
On the heels of losses to No. 5 Yale, 16-11, and No. 6 Penn, 16-15, to start its conference season, the reigning league champion Red (7-3, 2-2 Ivy League) demolished Dartmouth and Harvard by a combined score of 34-16 in consecutive weeks.
At home against the Green, three players registered hat tricks — junior attack Jeff Teat, senior attack Clarke Petterson and senior midfielder Jake McCulloch — while Teat led all scorers by adding three assists. Freshman goaltender Chayse Ierlan earned an impressive save percentage of just over 70 percent while making 12 stops in the victory.
At Harvard, Teat shined again with an eight-point game — his second such showing of the year — as Cornell steamrolled over the Crimson 19-11. The Tewaaraton award watchlister ranks sixth in the nation in points per game at 5.4, tied with Princeton’s Michael Sowers.
So far this season, Cornell has faced four teams currently in the top-11 — all within five games of each other.
With two crucial conference victories against unranked squads in its rearview, Cornell will now face yet another test: consecutive visits to No. 9 Syracuse and No. 10 Notre Dame. The two games will be second and third in a span of four straight before closing its season at home.
Now with an even record in the conference and a real path towards an Ivy playoff berth, Cornell’s task is to pick up two wins that could go a long way in solidifying its résumé for a bid to the NCAA tournament. With the season nearing its final stretch, these last two conference games will prove vital in May should a repeat title at the Ivy tournament fall out of the Red’s reach.
The Orange represents one of Cornell’s oldest and fiercest rivalries. The teams have met 106 times since 1920, and the Red has to travel just about 50 miles north to take on its central New York foes. Last season, Cornell knocked off Syracuse twice, once at Schoellkopf in the regular season and once at the Carrier Dome in the NCAA playoffs.
Cornell last faced Notre Dame in the 2010 national semifinal, in which the Fighting Irish were victorious, 12-7. Cornell last defeated the Irish in 2007.
The Red significantly outpaces both squads in scoring offense at 15.9 goals per game, second only in the nation to Penn State’s 17.3. But Cornell’s biggest weakness — the faceoff — will be tested yet again as both Syracuse (13th) and Notre Dame (29th) rank in the top 30, while Cornell’s paltry .386 winning rate on draws ranks a dismal 65th out of 73 Division I teams.
The tough stretch begins Tuesday at the Carrier Dome when Cornell and Syracuse face off at 6 p.m.