With its conference playoff hopes on the line, Cornell men’s lacrosse marched into Providence on Saturday and took care of business against Brown, securing a 12-9 victory over the Bears to move one step closer to a spot in the Ivy League Tournament.
A home win next week against Princeton will guarantee the Red a chance to defend the Ancient Eight title it won a year ago. A loss would send Cornell into a tiebreaker frenzy.
The Red started off hot on Saturday, with senior midfielder Jake McCulloch scoring his 15th goal of the season less than a minute into the first quarter. McCulloch finished with a hat trick. Six-on-six play looked like bread and butter for the No. 10 team in the nation, and three more goals came from junior midfielder Cooper Telesco, senior attack Clarke Petterson and sophomore attack John Piatelli in the first quarter.
Despite season-long struggles at the faceoff X, Cornell showed well on draws early on.
The Red’s ability to keep up on possessions allowed its offense to work like clockwork. Canadian chemistry was on full display between Jeff Teat and Petterson throughout the first half, highlighted by a crafty feed from the junior attack to Petterson for the senior’s 39th goal of the season.
The first half was a fluid goal-fest, with the Red taking a 7-2 lead at the mid-game whistle. Cornell put on a scoring clinic — no surprise for a team ranked second in the country in shot percentage.
Brown was able to regroup at half and came out with a compelling third-quarter performance. The Red seemed to lose focus in the third with silly mistakes, and things heated up on the field: a fight in the substitution box broke out after Brown’s fourth goal, sending Teat off the field for a minute penalty. Freshman goaltender Chayse Ierlan had multiple big saves to put a damper on the strong attacking sequences formulated by Brown. Ierlan made a total of 12 saves on the day to keep the Red’s lead, and playoff hopes, alive.
Brown continued the pressure on attack in the fourth, cutting Cornell’s lead to one with eight minutes to play. The Red made it 10-8 and then got a boost from Piatelli. The sophomore attackman came up with two huge goals to push Cornell to a 12-8 lead.
With the victory, Cornell continues to control its own destiny with respect to the Ivy League tournament. If the Red defeats Princeton in the regular season finale Saturday, it will secure the No. 3 seed in the conference behind Penn and Yale.
If the Tigers prevail, however, there would be a three-way tie for the final two spots between Cornell, Princeton and Brown — leaving the scenarios a bit more complicated.
The first tiebreaker is record against each other, and all three teams would be 1-1 in that situation. The next tiebreakers are records against the top two teams in the conference, with Cornell, Princeton and Brown all 0-2, and records against the bottom two teams in the conference, with all three 2-0.
An Ivy League spokesperson told The Sun that the final tiebreaker would be goal differential in games amongst the three tied teams.
The Senior Day game against Princeton will take place Saturday at Schoellkopf Field.