This article has been updated.
ITHACA, N.Y. — The postseason brings a different level of intensity than the regular season, and nowhere was that more evident than in No. 8 men’s lacrosse’s opening round matchup against Michigan. Both teams went back and forth for four quarters before the game was sent to overtime.
The Red (11-4, 5-2 Ivy) won the overtime face-off and had a chance to score, but freshman face-off specialist Jack Cascadden had his shot saved by Hunter Taylor. The Wolverines took over possession, called timeout and Peter Thompson scored the winning goal, advancing, 15-14.
“I thought the guys fought, I thought the guys did everything in their power to get a win today,” said head coach Connor Buczek ’15. “[Michigan’s] a great team, well coached team. Obviously a disappointing outcome but a heck of a lacrosse game.”
The game started with saves on both ends of the field before the Wolverines (10-6, 5-3 Big Ten) struck first. Michael Boehm, Michigan’s top attacker, beat senior goalkeeper Chayse Ierlan, putting immediate pressure on the Red.
Cornell did not let the game slip away early, going on a three-goal run to take the lead back. Junior midfielder Andrew Dalton went top shelf to get the Red on the board, before junior midfielder Hugh Kelleher and senior attacker Billy Coyle added goals to put Cornell up by two.
The Red’s momentum was short-lived, as just five seconds after Coyle’s goal, Michigan responded. The Wolverines won the ensuing face-off, and Justin Wietfeldt dished it to Josh Zawada, who got a low liner to go.
Five minutes later, Michigan tied it up. With a defender draped on him, Aidan Mulholland got a shot in the near corner past Ierlan.
The teams traded goals to end the first quarter. First senior attacker Michael Long took a feed from senior attacker Spencer Wirtheim and got a high bounce shot into the back of the net.
The Wolverines knotted it back up 30 seconds later, executing off a timeout. The game was tied at four after the opening 15.
Cornell and Michigan matched up evenly throughout the first half, winning the same number of face-offs and taking the same number of shots. The second quarter was highlighted by a number of possessions deep into the shot clock, including the Red’s first goal of the period. After moving the ball around the box, Coyle was able to beat his defender downhill and get a one-hopper past Taylor to put the Red back up by one.
As it did in the first quarter, Michigan came back with a quick response. Wietfeldt won the following face-off, and took it down the field himself, finishing past Ierlan in a six second set.
Defensive grit was on display throughout the quarter, with just three goals being scored in the last 11 minutes. The Red reclaimed the lead off a goal from Wirtheim, but the Wolverines answered with two late goals, including one with 11 seconds left in the half. Cornell went to the locker room trailing, 7-6.
The Red struggled to find open looks throughout the third quarter, as a stout Michigan defense allowed just one goal in the period. Cornell’s goal came from Kelleher, who once again was able to get downhill and score in the lower right corner.
After more than nine minutes of scoreless play, the Wolverines scored twice in less than a minute. First Boehm found Issac Aronson from behind the net for a top shelf goal. On the following possession it was Jake Bonomi driving down the box, faking a pass and scoring from five yards out. Cornell trailed, 9-7, going to the final 15.
As both teams fought to advance, the offenses came to life in the fourth quarter. After tallying just one assist in the first three quarters, junior attacker CJ Kirst opened up the fourth with a goal to bring the Red within one.
The Wolverines answered with a goal to go back up by two, but two quick scores from senior midfielder Aiden Blake tied the game up at 10.
Both teams continued to trade goals, with the game remaining within two goals throughout the fourth. Boehm scored his second to give Michigan the lead, before Kirst recovered a shot attempt by Long and converted on the put-back.
Thompson continued to beat the Red’s defense, scoring two goals in under a minute to put the Wolverines up. With four-and-a-half minutes left, Cornell was down two.
The Red responded with two quick goals of its own. First Kelleher locked up a hat trick, cutting into the middle of the box and finishing the open look. Cascadden won the following face-off and took it himself to the house to knot the game up once again.
With under two minutes remaining, Boehm put the Wolverines back up, wrapping around the net and finishing in the top left corner. Nevertheless, Cornell responded with a wraparound goal of its own, as Coyle tied it up at 14 with 59 seconds on the clock.
“[Coyle’s] a fifth year senior guy that we trust inherently to make plays,” Buczek said. “We set a great pick for him, he got his hands free and he turned and finished in a huge moment.”
Neither team scored again in regulation, and the game went to overtime. The Red failed to convert its opportunity, and after moving the ball around the box, Aronson found Thompson in the hole for his fourth goal, clinching the win, 15-14.
With the loss, the Red’s season comes to a disappointing end in front of the home faithful. After finishing the regular season 11-2, Cornell fell to Yale in the Ivy tournament before losing to Michigan today. The Red will have to wait another year for a chance to make a postseason run.
“I think overall, we came a long way,” Blake said. “A lot of the young guys stepped up big and they’ve had huge roles all year… Today we worked our asses off but it didn’t work out in the end which sucks, but [I] couldn’t be more proud of these guys.”