When Ezra Cornell founded his University, he made a bold statement about education — the importance of combining the theoretical and the practical, the work of the mind and the work of the body.
But he could in no way have imagined the furor over the appropriate combination of academics and athletics that would ebb and flow far above Cayuga’s waters.
The argument began with the first pitch in the primitive baseball games that were played in the Cornell family cow pasture. Organized sports detracted from a serious education, some people maintained, while the opposite camp held that a strong mind could only exist within a strong body.
It was a back-and-forth battle throughout, but the No. 13 Bears spoiled the No. 2/4 men’s lacrosse team’s bid for an undefeated Ivy League season and sole possession of the Ivy title. Brown’s senior goalie Jordan Burke made 18 saves and the Bears rode the momentum from a fired-up home crowd to an 11-9 win over the Red on Saturday.
The loss drops Cornell to 9-3 overall and 5-1 in the Ivy League and ensures that the winner of the Brown-Princeton game next Saturday will receive a share of the Ivy League title. Next weekend’s game will also determine which team gets the Ancient Eight’s automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. If Brown (12-2, 4-1 Ivy) beats Princeton, the Bears will go to the tournament, and if Princeton wins, Cornell will receive the automatic berth.
Good things so often come in three’s: three’s a charm, the Three Stooges, Tic-Tac-Toe. But this Saturday in Providence, R.I., the men’s lacrosse team hopes for its own special three — three outright conference titles in the past five years. The No. 2/4 Red, riding high from its 10-7 upset victory over then-No. 1 Princeton last Saturday, will be fighting for the chance to take sole possession of the Ivy League championship by beating the No. 13/13 Bears, currently in second place in the Ancient Eight standings.
“For us it’s such a big game, we want to have an outright Ivy title,” said senior midfielder Max Seibald. “When we share the title we actually don’t get to keep the Ivy trophy for the entire year.”
The women’s lacrosse team netted another Ivy League victory this past weekend to extend its win streak to two games, defeating Brown 12-9. After overpowering University of New Hampshire during the week, No. 20 Cornell (7-4, 2-3 Ivy) utilized its momentum and technique to play a solid sixty minutes.
“I thought Brown definitely played a good game and they were a lot better than last year,” said sophomore Libby Johnson. “They really never let us pull away. Every time we would score a couple of goals, they would always answer back. “
Starting off the game strong offensively by maintaining control of the ball through draw controls and forced turnovers, the Red did not give the Bears (6-5, 2-2 Ivy) many opportunities, which created longer possession times for the Red.
In important matches against its Ancient Eight rivals this weekend, the Red tennis teams saw mixed results. The men’s team (12-5, 3-2 Ivy) remained perfect at home, beating Yale 6-1 on Friday and defeating Brown, 5-2, on Saturday. The women’s team, facing the same opponents on the road, dropped both matches, losing 7-0 in both outings.
After playing two games on the road, a 12-8 loss to Dartmouth on Saturday and Monday’s 5-3 win over the University of New Hampshire, the women’s lacrosse team is prepared to host Brown University at Schoellkopf Field tomorrow.
The win against UNH marked the end of a four-game losing streak for the Red, with each of the losses coming against teams ranked in the top-20. The match against UNH showcased the Red’s tough defense. Junior goalkeeper Kristen Reese achieved career-best results, making 13 saves and holding guard at the net without allowing one goal for over 31 minutes during the first half. UNH, a team that averages 13 goals per game, wasn’t allowed much room for scoring.
As the weather gets nicer, the opponents get tougher and the games become more consequential for the Cornell men’s and women’s tennis teams. After suffering losses to Harvard in their last outing, both the men’s and women’s teams look to return to their winning ways this weekend, in games against Ivy League foes, Yale and Brown.
The men’s team (10-5, 1-2 Ivy) was edged out by Harvard, 4-3, on Saturday. The loss reflected the team’s recent underwhelming play, having also lost to Columbia before its match against the Crimson. The Red, which previously held a six-game win streak over Spring Break, currently possesses a losing record, 1-2, against Ancient Eight rivals.
Saying that the Red got off to a red hot start in Ivy League play over the weekend would be an understatement. Cornell opened its conference schedule with a statement to the rest of the league by scoring 11 runs in the first inning of game one against Brown (4-12, 0-2 Ivy) on Saturday. The team would cruise to an 11-0 win before another shutout victory, 6-0, in game two.
“It was crazy,” said junior Ashley Garvey about the first inning. “Alison [Intihar] started it off with a really well-hit ball, and our bats just caught fire. Momentum went from batter to batter to batter. We were just sitting in the dugout wondering what was going on. It was just crazy.”
Though the baseball team split its home-opening doubleheader against Brown on Saturday — facing its first conference foe of 2009 — there was a tangible feeling of celebration in the home team dugout at Hoy Field. After a crushing loss in Game 1, 10-2, Cornell relied on standout performances from both a rookie and a seasoned veteran, freshman right fielder Brian Billigen and senior shortstop Scott Hardinger, to take the back end of the doubleheader, 8-4.
“To beat a team as good as Brown after losing the first [game] shows the character of this team and shows that [Cornell’s players] are starting to figure out how to win,” said first-year head coach Bill Walkenbach, who tallied his first Ivy win on Saturday.
The sweet smell of victory couldn’t come soon enough for the Red.
The men’s baseball team, losers of 10 straight games, limps into Ivy League play to take on Brown and Yale this weekend. The teams are practically mirror images of each other — each struggling to find consistent pitching to match their potent bats. If these characteristics hold true, prepare for some slugfests.
“Brown’s a really good hitting team,” said junior outfielder Nate David. “They’ve got a few guys in their lineup, some older guys, who can swing it.”
Brown’s senior shortstop Matt Nuzzo and his double play partner sophomore Ryan Zrenda have done the heavy lifting thus far, racking up 50 total bases between them. The combo has also provided airtight defense up the middle for Brown’s bevy of ground ball pitchers.