Five months after missing out on an NCAA Tournament spot, Cornell returned to action in a pre-season scrimmage against Maryland on Sunday in Huntington, N.Y..
It was a beautiful weekend for lacrosse on Long Island as Cornell faced off against Maryland at St. Anthony’s High School, drawing hundreds of fans from around the lacrosse-crazed region.
Coming into the game, the Red had last been eliminated in May’s Ivy League Tournament by the eventual national runner-up, Yale. The Red posted a 1-5 overall record and did not earn an NCAA Tournament bid.
Maryland was one of the nation’s top teams in the 2019 season, finishing with an overall record of 12-4. The Terps fell to eventual national champions Virginia in overtime of their 2019 NCAA Tournament Quarterfinal bout.
The first quarter was dominated by the Terrapins, as Cornell looked rusty. Maryland got off to a hot start and scored the game’s first two goals. Cornell’s defense looked half asleep despite some nice saves from sophomore goalie Chayse Ierlan. The Red offense was not much better, as multiple passes flew out of bounds or were mishandled. The team managed to get a goal back, but then let up three straight Maryland goals. The Red ended the second quarter trailing 5-2.
Cornell regrouped and talked things over prior to starting the second quarter. What resulted was an absolute goal-fest. Senior Jeff Teat, junior John Piatelli and sophomore JJ Lombardi all got on the scoresheet for Cornell, which scored seven goals to take a 9-7 lead at the end of the half. Lombardi in particular seemed to catalyze the offense, driving with force to the goal and distributing the ball to his fellow attackmen. On the opposite end, Ierlan continued his mastery in net, making multiple key saves to keep Cornell alive in the game.
The Red carried its momentum into the second half. Sophomore FOGO Tim Graham was key in winning Cornell possessions. Both teams traded goals, with Cornell leading 13-10 at the end of the third. Depth in goal was instrumental for preserving the Red’s lead, as senior Caelahn Bullen also made important saves.
Maryland made a last-ditch effort to claw back in the final quarter, cutting the Red lead to a single goal with over 10 minutes left to play. However, Cornell was far from done as its attackmen gave the team breathing room, tallying two more goals. Cornell’s strong defensive play sealed the game, causing turnovers and frustration for the Maryland attack to prevent a comeback. The unofficial final score was 15-12 in favor of Cornell.
The Red hopes the scrimmage was a preview of an NCAA Tournament run during the 2020 season.