Coming off a 19-10 win in its season opener, No. 10 Cornell lacrosse continued its winning ways, earning comfortable victories over Towson, 17-10, and High Point, 21-11 last weekend.
Earning personal honors, several players had standout performances across the two matchups. Junior attacker John Piatelli tallied his 100th career point, while senior attacker Jeff Teat earned his 250th, becoming only the fourth player in program history to achieve that milestone.
Meanwhile, freshman attacker Michael Long also made his presence known, scoring four goals in each contest, earning him Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors.
In the Red’s (3-0) first game of the weekend against Towson (0-3), the team looked to replicate much of the offensive prowess featured in its first game of the season.
Largely a pass-first option in the Red’s opening win last week, senior midfielder Connor Fletcher led the offensive charge early with two goals and one assist in the first quarter. Another contributor from last week, senior faceoff specialist Paul Rasimovicz looked dominant from the start, going 5-for-5 on faceoffs and even adding a goal of his own.
But the momentum began to shift in the Tigers’ favor as the team won possessions, deadlocking the game at 6-6 in the second quarter. The Red was largely unable to adjust to Towson’s resurgence, misplacing passes and turning the ball over several times.
But Cornell managed to flip the switch, breaking out of the tie thanks to freshman Angelo Petrakis, who subbed in for faceoffs. Petrakis proved to be the spark plug that the team needed, quickly clamping down on faceoff contests to go 9-for-13 in the second and third quarters.
“It definitely helped out on the field when you truly believe that you are prepared for the moment,” Petrakis said.
The extra possessions gave Cornell’s offense the momentum to go on a blistering 8-1 run, which extended into the third frame. During this near 15-minute stretch, two players scored three goals each.
The first hat trick was scored by Long, who after failing to tally a point in the season opener, exploded, scoring three uninterrupted goals in as many minutes to move Cornell into the lead. Long finished the game with four goals and an assist.
“All we were doing was running our offense, and I happened to be the one getting the looks,” Long said. “The great thing about our offense is that it could be anyone on any given day.”
In the third quarter, Piatelli got in on the fun, recording a hat trick in a mere two minutes, with his third goal coming off well-executed team play.
The move started via a Petrakis faceoff, when a loose ground ball was scooped up by freshman midfielder Danny Boccofola. Boccofola’s extra effort started a sequence of intricate passing that culminated with Long giving up an open shot to find Piatelli for an even easier look.
“The wing middies have been doing a great job of fighting for all of the ground balls,” Petrakis said. “They play a tremendous role in the success on the faceoffs.”
At this time, the Cornell offense had scored eight of the game’s previous nine goals for a 14-7 lead. Fletcher, who ended the first quarter with two goals, also secured a hat trick at the end of the quarter.
Cornell added another win to its repertoire in its next game at High Point (1-4).
After giving up an early goal on Sunday to the North Carolina squad, the Red scored four straight to build a lead that it never relinquished. At the end of the first, Cornell led, 8-4, and went on to outscore its opponent, 10-3, in the next two quarters. Faceoff options Rasimovicz (12-for-20) and Petrakis (9-for-12) won draw after draw to set the offense up for success.
“Our face-off unit is inspired and motivated to win these extra possessions for our offense and ultimately be the spark in the team,” Petrakis said.
Familiar goal scorers from the Towson game carried over their sharpshooting into the weekend’s second contest.
Long again exploded on the scene, scoring a goal in each quarter. For his second goal, Long spectacularly came from behind the goal to dodge his defender and fire a rocket into the net. The freshman also finished with three assists.
Less than 20 seconds into the second quarter, Piatelli completed another hat trick. With the goal, the senior reached his 100th career point and would later score three more for a career-high six goals in one game.
Teat also achieved a historic feat. By recording three goals and four assists against High Point, Teat surpassed the 250-point mark in his career. The senior is now only two points away from moving into third in the record books.
The Red’s defense smothered the High Point attack. Sophomore defenseman Gavin Adler had the assignment of covering High Point’s biggest threat, Asher Nolting. Adler’s lock-down defense proved to be key, as he limited Nolting to just a single goal. Overall, Cornell forced 19 turnovers, stymying the Panthers throughout the afternoon.
Next up, Cornell will continue its road trip against Ohio State on Sunday at 12 p.m.