Leilani Burke/Sun Staff Photographer

Hugh Kelleher '24 celebrates with a teammates after his goal against Hobart on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at Schoellkopf Field. Cornell won 23-7.

February 28, 2024

Men’s Lacrosse Annihilates Hobart, 23-7, in 141st Meeting

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In the 128 years of history and 140 meetings between men’s lacrosse and Hobart, only once had a team eclipsed the 20-goal mark — that came in 1968, nearly 56 years ago, at the very same Schoellkopf Field. 

That is, until Tuesday afternoon. In match 141, No. 10 Cornell (2-1, 0-0 ECAC) racked up the most goals in a single game since 2018 en route to a 23-7 shellacking of Hobart (1-3, 0-0 A10). 

“It was a big one,” said senior attackman CJ Kirst. “Especially coming off [of] Saturday where it was a tough loss out in Denver, we had to come out swinging and play our best, and I think we did that today.”

14 players scored, including two with hat tricks and one with four tallies. Nine players picked up multi-point games while three got on the score sheet for the first time this season.

“Top to bottom on this roster, I was really proud of the way we showed up,” said head coach Connor Buczek ’15. “We started to get some other guys in that maybe don’t see as many minutes. They went out and executed and did an awesome job playing fundamentally sound and playing together.” 

Two goalkeepers split playing time — junior goalkeeper Wyatt Knust played three quarters before freshman goalkeeper Matthew Tully played the final 15 minutes, his collegiate debut. Knust made 10 saves while Tully stopped a pair of shots. 

The first quarter was all Cornell, as the Red struck twice in the first 2:09. The two goal-scorers, freshman midfielder Luke Gilmartin and junior attackman Danny Caddigan, continued their hot starts to the season. Gilmartin’s game-opening goal came on an underhand rip that passed the Statemen’s goalkeeper in half a second.

Hobart’s David Peterkin put a temporary halt to Cornell’s offensive incursion, but the Red roared back with four unanswered goals to close out the first quarter. Fifth-year attackman Spencer Wirtheim, senior midfielder Ryan Sheehan, freshman attackman Willem Firth and Caddigan — whose goal came with just six seconds left in the quarter — scored in a consecutive fashion to bolster Cornell’s 6-1 lead after 15 minutes of play.

Firth, though only finding the nylon once on Tuesday, made himself known. His only goal was one for the highlight reels and he also notched three assists. 

“We’ve got a ton of great individuals, but they bought into playing team lacrosse and sharing the ball and playing for other guys,” Buczek said. “CJ is as good an example as anybody today.”

Regarded as one of the best attackmen in collegiate lacrosse, Kirst was tightly man-marked the entire game. Regardless, the senior was able to make an impact — three goals and two assists on Tuesday increased Kirst’s numbers to nine goals and 12 assists in just three games.

Kirst attributed his success against Hobart — despite the influx of defense on him — to the players around him.

Cornell reached the double-digit mark in the second quarter and once again limited Hobart to just one goal in the frame. Fifth-year attackman Michael Long’s goal preceded a Hobart retaliation, but three more Cornell goals — two by senior midfielder Hugh Kelleher and one from Kirst — gave Cornell a 10-2 lead at halftime.

Hobart swapped its goalkeepers at halftime, leaving the crease for Jack Faiola to face the lethal Cornell offense. However, as it has in each of its three games this year, the Red unleashed an offensive onslaught in the third quarter. This frame has seen great success for Cornell, as 16 of its 56 total goals — nearly 30 percent — across the first three games of the season have been scored in the third quarter.

Kelleher opened up the second half with two goals to conclude his impressive four-goal performance. The next two Cornell goal-scorers — fifth-year midfielder Aiden Blake and senior midfielder Andrew Dalton — both collected their first goals of 2024, sandwiching a Hobart tally.

The score reached an astonishing 14-3 five minutes into the third quarter, but the Red did not cease its momentum. Caddigan completed his hat trick and Kirst picked up another score before senior long-stick midfielder Walker Wallace recorded his first goal of the year. Cornell entered the final quarter up by an 18-5 margin.

Five more goals were tallied by Cornell as opposed to Hobart’s two in the final frame. Fifth-year attackman Brian Piatelli picked up two goals, while Kirst, Dalton and senior attackman Ben Abladian wrapped up the remarkable offensive performance.

After a heart-breaking 17-16 loss to Denver on Saturday, the win was a much-needed confidence boost for the Red. 

“Tuesdays are about the ‘Jimmies’ and the ‘Joes,’ not the ‘x’s’ and the ‘o’s,’” Buczek said, emphasizing how success from midweek games comes primarily from grit rather than skillful plays. “[I’m] so proud of the way our guys bounced back, play[ed] tough for 60 minutes and put a complete one together.”

Cornell will shift gears quickly and focus its attention to a top-20 matchup on deck. The Red will take on No. 20 Ohio State, the second ranked matchup for the Red on an incredibly tough out-of-conference slate.

“It’s another opportunity for us to get even better,” Buczek said. “We’re excited about the challenge.”

Cornell will face off against Ohio State at Noon on Saturday at Schoellkopf Field.