To follow up a 2019 season in which it narrowly missed the NCAA Tournament, Cornell men’s lacrosse kicked off its 2020 campaign with a fierce offensive assault on upstate New York rival University at Albany, taking a 19-10 victory.
Four attackmen for the Red each scored at least three goals — junior Jonathan Donville led the pack with five goals and senior Cooper Telesco had four, accompanied by a pair of hat tricks from junior John Piatelli and sophomore John Lombardi.
While the game was largely dominated by Cornell’s offense, major defensive plays were key to success early on. Only a few minutes into the first quarter, the Red found itself playing down two men due to penalties — the limited defensive unit was forced to hold its own.
Sophomore goaltender Chayse Ierlan, along with the four Cornell defensemen, shut down the Great Danes, keeping the game scoreless. Ierlan would eventually finish the day with 10 saves. In the first three quarters of the game, Cornell allowed only four goals.
“We knew it was game time and everyone was calm and collected,” Ierlan said. “We came out, played aggressive, and put them on their heels from the get-go.”
After edging out a 3-1 lead in a back-and-forth first quarter, Cornell’s offense exploded in the next two periods to outscore its opponent by a margin of thirteen to three.
“When we’re moving quick and moving the ball around, good things tend to happen,” Lombardi said.
Assisting the quartet of multi-goal magicians, Cornell’s offense was also powered by players who did not stuff their personal goal tallies that day.
One non-scoring catalyst was senior faceoff specialist Paul Rasimovicz. In the second half, Rasimovicz settled into the game nicely and emerged as the Red’s go-to option, winning the team extra key possessions that kickstarted offensive production. His efforts won Cornell 21 of the game’s 32 faceoffs.
“The faceoff unit was able to feed off the momentum and our overall team’s energy to keep winning draws,” Rasimovicz said.
Senior attackman Jeff Teat served as another offensive contributor. Prior to the game, Teat was named to the Tewaaraton Award watch list for the third straight season after achieving 34 goals and 37 assists last season. This award is presented annually to the top college lacrosse player in the nation.
Although he only registered a single goal against Albany, Teat racked up four assists and displayed advanced field awareness to set up teammates for scoring.
“We get the ball to [Jeff] and he’s able to survey the field and do his magic,” Lombardi said.
The win marks the first of five road contests to kick off Cornell’s season — the Red will not return to its home turf until next month. In the coming week, the Red will travel to face Towson on Friday and High Point on Sunday — games in which it will look to continue its offensive dominance.
“Once our offense gets on a roll, they are one of the toughest in the country to defend,” Rasimovicz said.