A Bostonian backdrop for a revolutionary battle where visiting Red Coats took arms is not an original, historical script in this neck of the woods. It was hardly a slightly-south-of-the Boston massacre, but an imperious army of Big Red did march away with the win.
It was an odd day starting off with a forty-five minute drive down from Boston. You know you’re getting closer to Foxborough when the typical Route 1 strip punctuated with lights and off-road retailing suddenly opens up into a land expanse of theme-park sized paved lots. There was Gillette. Suspiciously quiet and empty, she seemed to have been rudely awakened from a deep winter’s sleep.
You pull into Patriot Place, which is nestled on the west side of Gillette, following a caravan of pick-ups headed into a monster-sized Bass Pro Shops and you try to imagine the car/foot traffic in late May, less than two months from now. It’s not Inner Harbor. It’s not South Philly. Gillette has good bones, typical of any large stadium. Patriot Place, an adjacent retail entity that is not fully realized, will be an added bonus/entertainment destination. There is plenty of space, and if you, with bbq and beverage in hand, after cleaning up on all the stickers and lanyards possible, wanted to wander over to Circuit City for a flat screen and a Wii followed by a trip to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, you could. Easily. No other tournament venue can boast that.
Finally, after the D&D experience of security, which would be appropriate for an AFC title match, although a necessary pre-May warm-up, taking the field of the 3x Superbowl Champions (minus the NE Revolution) is awesome not just for a sports fan, but a local. The only thing that could top last meal wish would be to color in the lines. Lacrosse lines, check.
An Ivy death match going into quadruple over time in early April with 2,700 fans on hand, in a cavernous arena with a seating capacity of 68,756, could be exciting. An 11-7 outcome did not make for a quad-OT, but it did mark the first lacrosse game ever in Gillette. Not even the coach’s Scarlet Knight son, could make that claim.
The vacancy lent itself to a cone of acoustics befitting of the Sydney Opera House. For Cornell, the warm-up consisting of man claps, slaps, and Viking-like countdowns loomed in the rafters, and definitely lent an alpha scent in the air, which lingered until the last whistle. The primary offender being ad man, Max Siebald, who is nothing less than a beast one who doesn’t even need to punch the clock. His presence frees up those around him. Hurley, Finn, and Glynn are the top three scorers. Siebald is in fifth. Hurley, a big Minnesotan, is only a sophomore.
Harvard. Their first possession, like their warm-up, was quiet and thoughtful. Crimson worked the ball and the clock methodically without pretension. Dean Gibbons dished the ball from X to Max Motschwiller for a quick stick low at 12:25 giving Harvard the unexpected 1-0 lead. Big Red D convened for a quick debrief/wakeup call. Siebald leveled the playing field with a strong ISO overhand bouncer take at 11:36 (1-1).
Cornell out shot Harvard 10-6 in the first period but only edged out Crimson 33-32 SOG for the entire game. Harvard’s shot selection seemed to be affected by the Cornell defense. Big Red defense was most effective on the ride. Cornell was 17-19 on the clears whereas Harvard was 16-23. Another key stat for Harvard was their inability to convert on EMO going 0-6. Big Red made more coin out of possession out hustling Harvard 33-27 on grounders and taking 14 of the 22 balls from the face-off X.
Hurley scored the last two goals of the first period giving Cornell a 3-1 lead going into the second period. John Glynn set up Hurley with the cross-goal pass. Hurley shot low through traffic. Glynn went to Hurley again this time off a loose ball. Hurley scored on the lefty fake high with the off hip bouncer.
Harvard out shot Cornell 9-8 in the second, but it was Cornell that had the five unanswered goals at the top of period. The narrow margin in the first period was absorbed by a significant second period momentum shift.
Big Red’s Chris Finn was set up for what could have been the most exciting goal of the match one on one with the keeper with what seemed like an eternity. Finn waited for the goalie and over-faked him only to be rejected when he could have just taken the shot in an open cage. Finn redeemed himself with a lefty underhand bouncer going stick side hip. Siebald scored his 13th goal of the season with a low inside lefty sidearm hitting stick side high (5-1). Chris Ritchie got the flat pass from Hurley for a lefty low shot (6-1). The next goal Ritchie set up Hurley off the grounder. Hurley went inside left and banked the turn around jump shot lefty (7-1) at 8:04. Hurley scored his 29th goal of the season off a pass from Finn with a near side bouncer. Harvard finally responded with less than a minute left in the half of a much-needed goal from Zach Widbin off an assist from Gibbons (2-8). Widbin nailed the lefty sidearm crank going topshelf.
It was an even contest in the third period 3-3. Cornell was first to strike with a goal from Glynn (9-2). Harvard’s Jesse Fehr responded with a goal (3-9). Fehr capped of a fast break with a dip and dunk off a pass from Eric Posner. Cornell answered with a pair of goals from Hurley and Glynn (11-3). Crimson got two goals from Motschwiller and Francis Ellis. Motschwiller scored unassisted with a bouncer. Ellis came across the crease with a righty quick stick off a pass from Gibbons (5-11).
Harvard won the last period 2-0. Neither team could convert on possession. Finally at 10:14, Widbin scored his 6th goal of the season off a righty-overhand bouncer coming across the goal (6-11). Six seconds later, Gibbons scored off a ball from Nick Smith. Harvard took the face-off. Smith passed to Gibbons down low. Gibbons finished with a lefty side arm (7-11). There seemed to be a glimmer of hope that Harvard could mount a comeback, but the Cornell defense anchored by goalie Jake Meyers, added pressure and Harvard could not convert. Final score Cornell 11 Harvard 7.
Cornell returns to action on April 8th as Big Red hosts Syracuse. Harvard hosts Princeton Saturday April 12th. Cornell leads the Ivy at 3-0.