Cornell avenged last week’s defeat to Hobart by beating the Statesmen today by a score of 11 to 5. Justin Redd, who finished the day with a goal and 4 assists, led the Big Red offense. Andrew Collins chimed in with 3 assists while sophomore midfielder Joe Boulukos had a hat trick. The defense was led by surprise, surprise- Kyle Georgalas, and along side him was freshman goalie Matt McMonagle who looked very impressive in his first college playoff game. But enough of me telling you everything you could find out simply by looking at the box score, here is how it all happened.
For the first 7 minutes of the game each team went back and forth with scoring opportunities, but both teams just could not finish the play. Then a thunderstorm decided to make its way through Ithaca. The thunder and lightening, along with visible puddles on the artificial turf surface forced the game to be delayed for 45 minutes. When each team came back out it was evident that the weather had affected the sticks in some way because a lot of passes were over thrown, and shots were terribly off target. However we did manage to see one goal in the quarter, and it was the first of three by Joe Boulukos. Boulukos took his man hard down the left side and fired a high to low shot past Hobart goalie Dan Valente. All and all the first quarter was pretty weak- only one goal scored, sloppy plays, and my clothes are drenched, luckily for me it did get better.
By the second quarter most of the players had figured out what was wrong with there sticks, so the sloppiness started to disappear. Replaced with it was exciting play by both teams. Hobart struck first at the 14:42 mark when freshman midfielder Christopher David dodged lefty and shot a nice over-hand high to low shot. At the 7:30 mark Cornell caught a break, Hobart got called for an extremely questionable holding call. Unfortunately for the Statesmen Cornell capitalized on the man-up took the lead and wouldn’t give it up for the rest of the day. Cornell scored again a minute later on another man-up opportunity with a goal from Kevin Nee. Hobart stopped the bleeding with a goal from Mark Williamson, on a really nifty play. He dodged from “X” and came up the left side hard, his defender did his job and made him inside role, but the slide was too late, and Williamson snuck the goal nearside low, on a really difficult angle. Cornell got another goal before the end of the half, and went into the lockeroom up 4 to 2. To Cornell’s credit they executed when they needed to, and scored two big man-up goals. In all honesty I think Hobart was a little too excited on the offensive side of the field. All their players were looking to make the big play, and I feel they forced it too many times, and it led to costly turnovers.
Cornell took control of this game in the third quarter, scoring three times to Hobart’s goose egg. Hobart also had two man-up opportunities in the quarter where they didn’t produce any goals. The first goal of the quarter came from Cornell’s do it all midfielder Mike Riordan. He took the ball from defense to offense, dodged in transition, beat his man, and Hobart was slow in getting back on defense so no slide came, and Riordan made a nice bounce shot for a goal. The next goal in the quarter was a certainly the prettiest one of the day. I know all goals count as one, but this one deserves to be commended. Justin Redd stuck a shot low to high in the top left corner of the cage. The netting was still wet from the rain, so when the ball smacked the net, the water just exploded everywhere, Hobart goalie Dan Valente definitely needed a towel. When the third quarter was over it was 7 to 2 in favor of the Big Red, and Hobart was struggling to find an answer.
In the forth Hobart managed to score three times, but Cornell answered each goal. Frustration was theme for Hobart as they were taking some cheap shots, and pushing Cornell players after the whistle. That type of behavior is fairly common amongst teams that are getting their butts kicked, and having their season ended all in one day though. There you go- the final was 11 to 5.
Cornell “survives and advances” to the Quarterfinals and will be playing either Navy or UPenn next weekend.