www.lax.com - COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- On Saturday evening, lightning struck the Cornell lacrosse team's hotel in College Park. If lightning strikes the same place twice, the Big Red will have a chance to see it again next weekend.
While there was no real damage done at the hotel, the Cornell men's lacrosse team methodically picked apart one of the nation's best defenses on its own homefield, caused havoc on defense, dominated special teams and controlled every aspect of the game in topping No. 6 seed Maryland 16-8 on Sunday afternoon at Byrd Stadium in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament. The Big Red improved to 13-3, while the two-time defending national finalst Terrapins had their season end at 10-4.
Lightning hit Maryland in the form of a senior attack duo as good as any in the country. Fifth-year senior Rob Pannell continued his assault on the Cornell record book with a seven point day against Maryland, moving into second place on the school's career goal scoring list with 143. That mark ranks eighth in Ivy League history. His favorite target, classmate Steve Mock, became the first Big Red player to post at least 50 goals in a season since Mike French in 1976 with his four scores. Mock also set a Cornell record with fastest consecutive goals by the same player when he found the back of the net twice within five seconds of the game clock midway through the fourth quarter.
The duo might have spearheaded the offense, but it was the defense and face-off game that set the tone. Senior AJ Fiore had 12 saves, including a number at key moments, Cornell dominated loose balls off the ground (43-29) and won 16-of-26 face-offs behind Doug Tesoriero, who won 15-of-25 face-offs with 13 ground balls and even assisted on a goal in the win. Jordan Stevens caused five turnovers and won six ground balls and the unit of Tom Freshour, Jason Noble and Thomas Keith made play after play in front of Fiore.
The successful face-off unit wasn't all special teams provided. Cornell converted on 2-of-3 extra-man opportunities and held the high-powered Terps to 0-for-4 on the extra-man.
The first midfield trio of Max Van Bourgondien, Connor Buczek and Connor English each had a goal and an assist. In all, 11 players were credited with at least one point, with Matt Donovan posting two goals and an assist with four ground ball wins.
Entering the game, Maryland was allowing just 7.6 goals per game and had allowed 10 goals or more just three times. Cornell did that work in the second half alone, outscoring the home team 10-4. That came after a first half the visitors controlled, but couldn't put away. The Big Red led 6-4 at halftime, but it felt as though a Maryland run was always on the horizon.
It never came. Maryland only scored consecutive goals once in the game, and that came early in the second quarter.
In a series Cornell entered trailing 13-3-1, the Big Red improved to 3-1 all-time against the Terrapins in NCAA tournament play. With legendary Cornell coach and Maryland alum Richie Moran in the stands, Cornell played with the fire and passion it was missing in its Ivy League tournament semifinal loss at home to Princeton, a game that likely forced the Big Red on the road in the first round.
That effort could easily be stated by looking at one play. Leading 9-6 with under four minutes to play in the third quarter, Maryland's John Haus sent a shot wide. Senior Jason Noble beat the Terp's backup to the end line after what seemed like a sure Maryland possession, diving and landing with his stick at the end line before the jogging Maryland player. That triggered a run that started with a no-look, spinning goal by Rob Pannell with 37 seconds left in the half and ended when Buczek tallied with just 2:16 left in the game. In between, Cornell scored seven of eight goals and turned a tight three-goal game into a 16-7 rout.
Haus was Maryland's lone multi-goal scorer with two, while goalkeeper Niko Amato made 10 saves before being pulled with less than six minutes remaining. Jake Bernhardt and leading scorer Kevin Cooper each had a goal and an assist for the offense, while Jesse Bernhardt caused five turnovers, won nine ground balls and scored the Terps' first goal.
Less than a minute and a half into the game, Cornell led 2-0 and the tone was set. The Big Red drew first blood with Donovan taking a feed from Van Bourgondien just 41 seconds into the contest. Tesoriero won his second straight face-off and Pannell found Mock 44 seconds later to make it 2-0 before Maryland had even touched the ball.
After trading possessions, Jesse Bernhardt took a pass from Amato in transition and the longstick went right down the field and scored on a bounce shot to make it 2-1. That only slowed Cornell down for a minute though, as Pannell beat his defender around the crease and buried a quick shot with his left hand while drawing a penalty to make it 3-1. With no face-off, Pannell carried until he found Mock in the middle of the zone for his 50th of the year to extend the lead to 4-1 with 6:01 remaining in the first quarter.
Still up 4-3 in the second, Pannell took it into his own hands and snapped the two-goal Maryland run, spinning away from a defender and beating Amato for his fourth point of the day to make it 5-3. Van Bourgondien made it 6-3 after English found him open with a quick pass to the wing. The score came right after Fiore stoned a Maryland shot on the other end. The teams traded goals to make it 6-4 at the half.
Pannell opened the second half with a goal, beating the Maryland zone by finding an open space and netting his 39th of the year for his fifth point of the day. Amato narrowly kept it from getting to 8-4 with a point-blank save on Mock after a great feed from Pannell. Instead, Maryland's Haus beat a defender, used a fake and scored to cut it to 7-5.
That was as close as it would get for Maryland. Chris Cook found John Edmonds after Pannell drew a slide and earned a quick hockey assist to extend it back to 8-5 and moments later English scored on a quick strike that beat Amato over his right shoulder and pinged the corner to make it 9-5.
Pannell's no-look goal closed out the scoring in the third and Maryland wasn't able to get a shot off after drawing a penalty that spanned the third and fourth quarters. Fiore made two early saves in the fourth and Pannell's offense took care of the rest. The fifth-year senior's seventh point of the day came on a feed to an open Donovan, who only needed to catch it undefended and shoot it straight into the net.
Cornell doubled up the Terps after Pannell drew a flag for a 30-second man-up, then watched as his protege Donovan found a cutting Dan Lintner to make it 12-6, forcing a Maryland timeout with 10:47 remaining.
After Owen Blye got one back for the home team, Mock scored two goals in five seconds to put it away. THose two goals started a 4-0 Big Red run that sealed the win. Jake Bernhardt scored a late goal for Maryland to close out the scoring, but it was too late for a comeback.
Cornell vs. Maryland
|Rob Pannell||(4, 3)|
|Steve Mock||(4, 0)|
|Matt Donovan||(2, 1)|
|Max Van Bourgondien||(1, 1)|
|Connor Buczek||(1, 1)|
|Connor English||(1, 1)|
|Doug Tesoriero||(0, 1)|
|Chris Cook||(0, 1)|
|Dan Lintner||(1, 0)|
|Thomas Keith||(1, 0)|
|John Edmonds||(1, 0)|