Aaron Snyder/Sun Staff Writer

Junior attacker CJ Kirst scored six of the Red's 21 goals in its win over Marquette.

April 11, 2023

Men’s Lacrosse Tops Marquette With a Well Rounded Performance

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This article has been updated.

Playing in a midweek matinee at Schoellkopf Field Tuesday, No. 6 men’s lacrosse had an opportunity to bounce back from a loss on Saturday, April 9 against Harvard. Taking on Marquette for the first time in its history, the Red (8-2, 3-1 Ivy) played a complete game in all phases, getting back on track with a 21-11 win.

The Golden Eagles (6-5, 1-1 Big East) got on the board first, taking advantage of a Cornell turnover. Attacker Devon Cowan finished in the top right corner to give Marquette an early lead.

The Red’s offense did not stay dormant for long, however, and proceeded to score 10 unanswered goals. Junior midfielder Ryan Sheehan got the equalizer for the Red off a pass from senior attacker Billy Coyle.

Cornell took the lead with just under nine minutes left in the first, holding it for the remainder of the game. Senior attacker Spencer Wirtheim drove from the top of the box and beat the Marquette goalkeeper top shelf to give the Red a 2-1 lead.

“I thought we showed up,” said head coach Connor Buczek ’15. “We jumped out to a nice lead early and then the guys sustained throughout the remainder. I was proud of the effort of our guys, bouncing back off a tough one Saturday, so [I] was proud of the effort and proud of the execution.”

Cornell was dominant on both sides of the ball in the first quarter. Additional goals by junior midfielder Hugh Kelleher, junior attacker CJ Kirst and senior midfielder Aiden Blake had the Red up 7-1 after the opening 15. Kirst, who leads all of D1 lacrosse in goals per game, scored three of the seven, including a nifty behind-the-back shot on his first.

On the defensive side, Cornell’s aggressive play smothered the Golden Eagles’ attack. The Red forced five turnovers in the first quarter, and 11 total in the game. 

Junior long stick midfielder Walker Wallace had an impactful game, causing three turnovers and getting four ground balls. Senior defenseman Gavin Adler anchored the back end with three caused turnovers and five ground balls.

“I thought we played unified and aggressive,” Adler said. “Ultimately, without much of a game plan it came down to us.”

The Red continued to apply pressure in the second, and just over a minute in, Coyle got his first of the day on a one-hop shot into the bottom right corner. Eleven seconds later, Cornell scored again, as freshman face-off specialist Jack Cascadden won the ensuing face-off and found freshman long stick midfielder Brendan Staub in the hole for a quick goal.

Less than a minute later, Cornell got a man-up opportunity off unnecessary roughness from Marquette. After moving the ball around the box, Coyle fired top shelf for his second of the day.

“I thought the ball movement was great,” Buczek said. “I thought we stayed big on the perimeter, I thought our off ball action was intense and guys were creating opportunities for themselves and others.”

Looking to stop the bleeding, the Golden Eagles was able to score its second goal of the day with just under 10 minutes left in the second. Nevertheless, the Red won the ensuing face-off, and Coyle found Kirst cutting across the front of the crease, who got a shovel shot to go.

Cornell extended the lead to 10 midway through the second quarter. Kelleher was able to drive from the top of the box past his defender, and fired top shelf from 10 yards out for his second goal of the game.

It was a back-and-forth end to the first half, with Marquette scoring three times and the Red twice. Kirst scored his fifth of the day, driving from the top right side of the box and finishing with a bounce shot.

In just his second game of the season, senior attacker Michael Long made his presence known, scoring with three minutes remaining in the half with a quick shot in the hole. The Red went into the locker room leading, 14-5.  

Needing to generate offense, the Golden Eagles won the opening face-off of the half and converted it into a goal from the hole.

The Red’s offense started slow in the third quarter, but picked up after the first five minutes. A forced turnover by Coyle in the Marquette defensive end set up a wide open Long in the hole for his second goal of the day.

A minute-and-a-half later, Kirst scored, again on a one-hop shot. The junior continued his dominant season, finishing with six goals.

The Golden Eagles closed out the third quarter with two goals to draw within eight. The Red went into the final 15 leading, 16-8.

The Golden Eagles started the fourth quarter the same way it did the third, winning the opening face-off and finishing the possession with a goal from five yards out. The seven goal deficit was as close as Marquette came in the final period, as the Red rattled off four goals in response.

Cascadden won the ensuing face-off and took it himself down the field for an unassisted goal. After seven minutes of play with no goals scored, freshman attacker Brian Luzzi scored his second goal of the season in the top right corner.

With seven minutes remaining and a nine goal lead, Cornell pulled some of its starters, giving an opportunity to its bench players. This included junior attacker Ben Abladian, who scored his first and second goals for Cornell in the final six minutes.

The Golden Eagles scored two late goals, but it was not enough to make a difference. The Red came away with a convincing 21-11 win.

Cornell’s victory against Marquette was its third game this season scoring 20 or more goals. It was another all-around effort, with 11 players scoring goals. Nevertheless, Buczek believes the best is yet to come.

“I think we’re still trying to put together our most complete game yet,” Buczek said. “I want to see our team put together a full effort from goalie to attack and offensive and defensive and middle of the field and face-off and ride and clear game. I think we’re still just getting going where we need to be.”

The Red now looks ahead to a tough road matchup on Saturday, April 15 against No. 7 Army. The game is set to start at noon and will be televised on ESPN+.