GENEVA, N.Y. – In a game that was billed as one of the most emotionally charged contests in Division I men’s lacrosse this season, it was a calm and collected Cornell team that ruled the day in a 15-7 victory over Hobart on Friday evening in front of 1,700 fans in the first-ever night game played at Boswell Field. College lacrosse's oldest rivalry did not disappoint for Big Red fans, as the visitors won 19-of-25 face-offs and dominated throughout in closing the regular season with an 11-3 record.
After finding out earlier this week that rival Hobart would be dropping down NCAA classifications to Division III, Thursday night the College's Board of Trustees reversed its decision after an alumni campaign to keep the team at its current level. With emotions running high, Hobart moved the game to Boswell Field and brought in portable lights to play the game in front of a large and boisterous crowd.
“It’s been an extremely emotional week,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni, a Hobart alumni. “But when there are potential distractions, our captains have done a great job of making sure that when practice starts everyone is focused at the task at hand. We knew we needed to get off to a good start today. I don’t think there was any mystery in the game plan. We wanted to come out and try to dictate the tempo and the pace in the first five minutes and take the crowd out of it early.”
While the crowd was everything it was advertised to be, the Big Red methodically picked the Statesmen apart, jumping out to an 8-1 lead midway through the second period and was never challenged. John Glynn had two goals and four assists to lead the offense, but just as importantly won 9-of-13 face-offs to spearhead a dominant 19-of-25 day at the "x". Christopher Ritchie added three goals and Max Seibald (two goals, one assist), Ryan Hurley (two goals, one assist) and Chris Finn (two goals) also had multi-point games. Tommy Schmicker added Glynn in the face-off circle, winning 10-of-12 restarts. In goal, Jake Myers made nine saves and allowed six goals in 50 minutes before giving way to Mat Martinez for the final 10 minutes. The freshman made three saves and gave up the final goal of the contest.
Nick Currie led the Hobart offense with three goals, while Jeff Colburn chipped in with four assists. Goalkeeper Max Silberlicht made seven saves in the loss.
Cornell opened the game with back-to-back goals from Ritchie before pushing the lead to 3-0 at the 7:22 mark off a man-up goal from Seibald. Hurley set up the first goal of the day, taking the ball deep in the right corner and streaking towards the goal before dishing off to Ritchie, who converted from eight yards out. Ritchie scored again off a great individual effort, rolling around the left side of the cage, then spinning off a defender and beating Silberlicht down low. Ritchie drew a penalty on the play, giving Cornell a one-minute man-up, which it converted when Seibald scored a 15-yard bomb off a pass from Glynn.
Veltman got the Statesmen on the board to make it a 3-1 game at the 4:36 mark.
A Hobart timeout brought about the customary stick-check by the officials, with some uncommon results as both teams were flagged for having illegal equipment, resulting in a pair of offsetting three-minute non-releasable penalties.
The Big Red scored twice more in the quarter with tallies by Finn and Espey sending Cornell into the first break with the 5-1 lead. Finn’s goal came at the 2:50 mark as he rolled around the left side of the net, fought through his defender and scored from just outside the crease. Just over one minute later, a rocket from Espey bounced of Silberlicht’s stick and dribbled over the goal line.
A series of Hobart penalties plagued the Statesmen early in the second quarter but the Big Red wasn’t able to convert until the 11:51 mark when Seibald took a pass from Glynn and ripped a hard-angle shot from deep on the left side to make it a 6-1 game.
Mike Corbolotti set up Cornell’s next goal, eluding his man and slipping into the heart of the Statesmen defense before sending a pass to Ritchie, who converted from just outside the crease.
An outstanding defensive ride set up the Big Red’s next goal as Seibald stole an outlet pass and streaked towards the goal, setting up a 2-on-1 with Glynn on his left. Seibald drew the defender, and dished to Glynn, who beat Silberlicht down low to make it an 8-1 game with 7:36 remaining in the second quarter.
Nick Currie broke the long Hobart scoring drought, sending a bounce shot over Myers’ head at the 6:37 mark.
Glynn swung the momentum back to Cornell, threading the ball through the Statesmen defense and hitting Kyle Doctor just outside the crease. Doctor faked twice and then beat Silberlicht high to make it a 9-2 game.
Shane O’Neill sent the Big Red into the intermission with a 10-2 lead after taking the ball out of bounds near midfield with 14 seconds left to play in the half. The junior midfielder streaked towards the goal, fought through one defender and then spun off a second one before sending a low shot through Silberlicht’s legs.
Cornell seemed to have trouble adjusting to the lights early in the third period, resulting in some uncharacteristic turnovers and sloppy play, but Hobart was unable to convert until the 9:54 mark when Colburn came up with a loose ball and sent the ball to Kirk, who streaked unfettered to the goal and beat Myers low to make it a 10-3 game.
Just over one minute later, Finn scored on a great individual effort, fighting towards the cage and sending a dunk shot over Silberlicht.
Hobart answered with back-to-back goals, starting with a tally by Daryl Veltman, followed by a score from Doug Shiver. Veltman’s goal was set up by Colburn, his third of the day, while Shiver’s shot was initially saved by Myers’ but the ball popped off his stick and up and over his right shoulder into the net.
Hurley ended the Statesmen scoring run, taking the ball on the right side of the goal and lining a low shot from six-yards out past Silberlicht to make it a 12-5 game with 3:17 remaining in the third quarter.
A spectacular goal by Glynn pushed the score to 13-5 after the senior midfielder bulldozed over his defender and eluded the slide by using a behind-the-back shot to find the back of the net.
Hobart struck first in the final quarter with Currie scoring off a pass from Jamie Kirk to make it a 13-6 game.
A man-up goal from Hurley returned the Big Red lead to eight goals when he took a pass from Glynn on the doorstep, turned and buried the ball into the back of the net at the 10:26 mark.
Currie registered his third goal of the game with just over six minutes remaining in the contest to make it a 14-7 game, but Cornell answered right back when Jon Thompson scored his first collegiate goal off a brilliant pass from Doctor at the 5:10 mark to account for the 15-7 final.
The Big Red will learn of its postseason fate on Sunday, May 4 during the NCAA Selection Show, broadcast live on ESPNU at 9 p.m. Cornell will capture the Ivy League AQ if Brown defeats Princeton on Saturday, May 3 in Providence by virtue of the Big Red’s victory over the Bears last weekend. If the Tigers win, they will be the Ivy League representative in the NCAA tournament and Cornell will hope for an at-large bid.
|Jeff Colburn||(0, 4)|
|Nick Currie||(3, 0)|
|Daryl Veltman||(2, 0)|
|Jamie Kirk||(1, 1)|
|Doug Shiver||(1, 0)|
|Max Silberlicht||7 (0.318)|