Leilani Burke/Sun Staff Photographer

Despite losing to Yale last Friday, the Red drew the eight seed and a home game in the NCAA tournament.

May 12, 2023

PREVIEW: Men’s Lacrosse Begins Postseason Run at Home Against Michigan

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Last season, No. 8 men’s lacrosse lost in the opening round of the Ivy tournament before going on an improbable run to the national championship game. After falling to Yale on Friday, May 5, the Red hopes to create the same magic, starting this Sunday, May 14 at home against Michigan.

The Red (11-3, 5-2 Ivy) is coming off its worst loss of the season, a 22-15 game against Yale. Cornell did not hold a lead at any point in the contest.

“We just left some plays out there,” said head coach Connor Buczek ’15. “I think we weren’t as sharp as we wanted to be. We didn’t cover our responsibilities. We didn’t play as unified as we’d like to.”

Michigan (9-6, 5-3) is one of the hottest teams in D1 lacrosse. The Wolverines enter the NCAA tournament riding a four-game winning streak, beating Ohio State, Penn State and Maryland en route to its first ever Big Ten tournament title.

“They’re playing fast, they’re playing confidently, they’re doing a lot of good things,” Buczek said. “Obviously a team that’s playing great lacrosse that’s beaten some really good teams and a team that’s certainly going to challenge us in a lot of ways.”

Michigan is led on offense by two 60-point scorers, Michael Boehm and Josh Zawada. The Wolverines has also excelled at the face-off x, winning at a 61 percent clip.

The Red will host an opening round playoff game for the second consecutive season. The opportunity to have one more game at Schoellkopf was a relief for a team that did not know where it would be playing prior to Sunday’s selection show.

“I think every team likes to be at home but specifically for us, and Schoellkopf being George’s House, it has a pretty special meaning to our guys,” Buczek said. “I know our guys take a lot of appreciation from the tradition and the history and being able to put the Cornell jersey on on Schoellkopf Field.”

This is the second career meeting between the Red and the Wolverines. The first was on March 1, 2014, with Cornell beating Michigan in Ann Arbor, 15-14, in overtime.

The Red will need its defense, which has been stellar for most of the season, to return to form on Sunday. Nevertheless, Buczek believes in his senior leaders and the overall experience of his team.

“It’s the first time we’ve had back-to-back years like this in recent memory,” Buczek said. “I think there’s certainly some confidence that comes with last year’s run and the experiences that come with it to stay steady and [understand] that all of these games are going to be dogfights.”

Cornell’s contest is set to start at 2:30 p.m. on Schoellkopf Field. It will be available on ESPNU. The winner of Cornell-Michigan will take on the winner of Duke-Delaware in the second round.