Cornell Press Release:
ITHACA, N.Y. - Senior goalkeeper Matt McMonagle matched his career-high with 19 saves and the Cornell offense scored five goals in the first 15 minutes of action as it rolled to a 14-6 victory over Towson in the opening round of the NCAA tournament this afternoon at Schoellkopf Field. The Big Red (14-0) never let the visitors get within three goals, slowly pulling away for the victory as it advances to the NCAA quarterfinals for the fourth time in the past six seasons. Cornell will await the winner of the Albany/Loyola game to see who it will face next Saturday, May 19 in Princeton, N.J.
McMonagle was a brick wall, allowing just one full strength goal during the contest as Towson took advantage of Big Red penalties to go 5-of-7 on the extra-man. Despite that, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year made several breathtaking saves and the Cornell defense did an admirable job in shutting down a solid Towson team.
Senior David Mitchell became the 32nd player in Cornell history to score 100 career points, registering five goals, including three in the decisive first period, while classmate Eric Pittard inched closer to the 100-point plateau as well (95) with two goals and two assists. Both senior midfielders Brian Clayton and Casey Lewis had two goals and an assist in the victory. Cornell was even on face-offs at 9-9 entering the fourth period before the Tigers claimed all five starts in the final 15 minutes.
Towson (9-7) got a goal and three assists from Bobby Griebe and a team-high two goals from the stick of Cryder DiPietro. In cage, Matt Antol and Billy Sadtler combined for nine saves, including Sadtler's six stops in the final 30 minutes. The loss was the worst for the Colonial Athletic Association's regular season champion since 2005 when it dropped a 14-3 contest at Virginia.
For just the second time this season, an opponent took more shots than Cornell, as the Tigers held the advantage, 42-37, but the Big Red held the edge in ground balls, 32-29.
The game started with a series of near-misses as Pittard hit the post, followed by an apparent goal from Randall Cooper that was waved off due to the Towson attackman stepping into the crease.
From there, it was all Cornell.
Mitchell notched his 100th career point with an unassisted goal at the 10:47 mark as he rolled around the cage, slipped past two defenders and scored from just outside the crease to make it 1-0.
Clayton put the home team up by two with just under six minutes to play in the opening quarter on a goal that was set up beautifully by Max Seibald. The sophomore midfielder carried the ball up-top, faked a shot to draw in the defense, and found Clayton all alone on the left side of the cage.
The home team went up, 4-0, off back-to-back goals by Mitchell. He scored the first after picking up a loose ball 10 yards from the cage and ripping a low, hard shot past Antol. The second goal came in transition after a brilliant, point-blank save from McMonagle. Long-stick midfielder Ethan Veddar collected the loose ball and streaked up-field before finding Mitchell all alone directly in front of the cage, where he converted the easy goal.
Cornell closed the first period with a goal from Seibald to go up 5-0 with 42 seconds remaining.
The Big Red opened the second period with back-to-back penalties and Towson made them pay, getting two quick man-up goals from DiPietro and Jon Engelke to make it 5-2 at the 13:41 mark.
After Mitchell's fourth goal of the game put the Big Red back up, 6-2, DiPietro registered his second man-up goal to cut the Cornell advantage in half with 7:33 to go in the period.
The second midfield line provided the next to goals for the Big Red with Rocco Romero scoring off a pass from John Espey, followed by an unassisted goal from Lewis to give Cornell the 8-3 advantage going into halftime.
"Even though we were up, 8-3, at halftime, we talked to our team about not playing all that well. We were doing a good job off of some of the unsettled situations, some of the turnovers and loose balls," said head coach Jeff Tambroni. "I didn't think either team was playing all that well. Probably, you can attribute that to the first round of the playoffs and maybe having some nerves going into the game. I thought they created a lot of difficult situations and created a lot of pressure situations for both teams. It was fun to watch, but it made for a lot of unsettled situations, a lot of broken down plays, and I thought, for the most part, our guys capitalized on it in the first half, and that gave us a lot of a cushion coming into the second half."
Mitchell's first shot of the third period sailed high, but Pittard snagged the ball out of the air, rolled to the front of the cage and after hitting two posts earlier in the contest, he found the back of the net as he slipped the ball into the lower corner to make it 9-3 at the 9:29 mark. Pittard had a hand in Cornell's next goal, finding Lewis, who converted to make it 10-3 with 5:34 to go in the quarter.
Towson converted its fourth man-up goal of the game as Cooper received a pass from Griebe and scored from point blank range to cut the home team's lead to 10-4, but the Big Red answered immediately, scoring on its next two possessions. The first came with Mitchell scoring off a pass from Pittard. On the very next possession, Pittard received a pass from Lewis and blasted a shot towards the cage. The ball was initially saved by Sadtler, but it had just enough steam to trickle over the goal line and give Cornell a 12-4 lead at the end of the third period.
Cornell's first goal in the final stanza came off a restart as an attempted double-team by the Tigers took Sadtler out of the goal. The ensuing foot race between the goalie and Clayton was won by the speedy midfielder, as he streaked to the crease and scored on a virtually empty net to make it 12-5.
Christian Pastirik scored the first post-season goal of his career to give the Big Red its largest lead of the game, as Cornell went up 14-4 with a man-up goal at the 9:37 mark.
For the fifth time in the contest, the Tigers registered a man-up goal as Griebe scored off a pass from Cooper and after being held without a full-strength goal for the first 51:56 of the game, Brian Vetter came through with Towson's final goal to account for the 14-6 final.
Cornell vs. Towson