Jeff Tambroni’s Big Red downed Notre Dame today at Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois 9-6 by controlling the first quarter. Cornell led 3-0 at the end of the first and those three goals were the margin of victory for the Red as Cornell ran its record against Kevin Corrigan’s Irish to 4-0. More than 3500 fans came out to watch this home game for Notre Dame, which was moved to Lisle by the sponsorship of Lacrosse America, which has two retail stores in the Chicago area and which runs many camps and park district programs. Three Illinois players were on the rosters of the teams, but only one, Cornell midfielder Dan Nathan, from Highland Park HS, played. Lacrosse has grown very fast in Illinois, mostly due to the efforts of Lacrosse America, and currently, there are 12 Illinois players on Division 1 rosters.
Jeff Tambroni of Cornell, was thankful for the event and highlighted the growth of the sport in his pregame comments, “We really feel privileged to come out and compete against a team of Notre Dame’s caliber in front of a crowd like we anticipate today. Without question, the quality of lacrosse is improving in the Chicago area, our roster is a case in point for we have two guys from the Chicago area, one of which starts for us. Both should play for us today. Certainly the athletes are here, it’s just matter of getting those athletes playing lacrosse, along with football, basketball and all the other sports they are currently competing in. I think its starting to filter that way and its helping the game certainly grow as fast as it has.”
This event may prove to be an annual one. Notre Dame’s assistant athletic director, John Heisler, was impressed with the facility and the crowd. The seating capacity is around 3000, and the overflow crowd sat on the track that ringed the field. Benedictine will be home this summer to the Chicago Machine, one of the MLL expansion teams, and if Saturday’s crowd continues their interest, the Machine can look forward to a successful inaugural season.
Cornell’s attacker, Dave Mitchell had rung up 8 goals against Binghamton in the Red’s opener and Tambronin did not expect he could be the only go to guy today, as he noted, “I hope that we can get the ball to Dave, the beauty of our offense, is that we have capable scorers in all areas, so that when one guy is not having quite as spectacular a day as Dave did last week, then somebody else will take that role and step up. Two of our guys that can easily fil that role are Eric [Pittard] and Joe [Boulukos], but going against Notre Dame’s defense, we are not expecting the same performance from Dave as he had last week.” Rather prophetic words as those three combined for the 7 goals needed to best the Irish.
Taylor Clagett won 13 of 17 faces today for the Irish, and Clagett gives the Irish a chance to jump on an opponent early. He won the first today using a quick rake and he took the ball to the net, but was stopped by Matt McGonagle for Cornell. McGonagle had 12 saves, while Joey Kemp had 14 for Notre Dame. Walsh picked up the rebound and shot, but was wide, and MaGonagale trapped the ground ball and cleared it. Pittard shot from up right and Kemp stopped it, but did not control the rebound. Mitchell hung by the crease on the right, a foot or two off, and scooped, rose and popped it behind Kemp for a 1-0 lead at 13:34. The Notre Dame defense did not seal him off and out on the rebound. Clagett again won the face with Drew Peters coming in to pick up the ball on the rake. Peters fed to freshmen Duncan Sweezey, who had a good shot, but was stopped by McGonagle. After the clear, Boulukos then had two successive shots all from up top 15 yards or so out. Cornell was using at 2-3-1 that moved to a 2-2-2 and worked the ball patiently around in a four corners approach, looking for an open cutter, but more successfully using the cutters to screen Kemp. At 6:43, Mitchell was fed by John Espey and beat Kemp for his second of the day and to make the score 2-0. The Irish managed five shots in the remainder of the period, two on goal, but they had no success working the ball inside. Max Siebald on the far left side fired one past Kemp at 1:13 to increase the lead to 3-0.
Karwek and Walsh for the Irish each had a shot in the beginning of the second period, and Karweck was stopped by McGonagle and Walsh’s was forced wide when he was hurried by a defender. Pittard rolled the right pipe and dove to beat kemp, but he was ruled in the crease so no goal was counted. Mike Podgajny fed Brian Hubschmann at 11:18 and Hubschmann converted on the left side to make the score 3-1. Hubschmann and Bill Liva collaborated on working the attack, but all three of Liva’s shots went wide, while MncGonagle stopped Hubschman on his shot. Liva connected with Walsh, who had returned to the game after more than a few minutes off, and Walsh used a roll behind the cage and came out on the left pipe, and placed the ball behind McGonagle to narrow the gap to 3-2. Cornell won the faceoff and controlled the ball of the final one and a half minutes of the half, waiting for the last shot. Last shot indeed it was as Notre Dame kept Cornell to the outside, but at 0:08 Pittard was tossed the ball and he simply made two or three shoulder fakes to freeze the Irish defender. Pittard then took one step to the outside and launched an overhand shot that went in. It went in before the horn sounded, but it certainly appeared not have made it in before the clock wound down. Cornell led 4-2, at the half.
Clagett again won the faceoff for ND to open the second half, and the Irish quickly moved downfield, where Matt Karweck used a laser from 10 yards out on the right to blow past McGonagle, to bring Notre Dame back within a goal at 4-3. Cornell’s Max Sieblad won the faceoff, picking up his own rake and taking it down the center and firing away at Kemp. Kmep easily stopped the shot, but Pittard, who was hanging off the crease, pulled in the rebound and dumped it up to Boulukos, at the top right. Boulukos fired once and missed wide, but Cornell backed up the shot and got the ball back to Boulukos at the top right, again about 15 yards out, who this time pushed it past Kemp at 12:09. 5-3. Notre Dame hammered away in their next possession, with Liva winding up hard and hitting the pipe high. The Irish caught the rebound and Hubschmann took his turn going low for the corner and another pipe save clanged away for Cornell. Nothing was working well for the Irish in this quarter. Cornell went up 6-3 at 9:57 when Mitchell passed thought he hole to Casey Leiws on the right, hanging out at the 10 yard mark and at a slight angle. Lewis beat Kemp to give the Big Red a three goal edge. Cornell took possession after Notre Dame won the faceoff and Podgajny’s shot went wide and proceeded to pepper Kemp.
Boulukos had two shots, the first of which clanged off the crossbar and the second went wide. Mitchell scooped the ball and brought it around the left and went wide. Mitchell was passed the ball again and this time Kemp sopped the shot but again failed to control the rebound. Boulukos picked up the ball and looking for a garbge goal, did a quick sidearm flip that Kemp stopped but didn’t hold onto. Lewis ran down the rebound and came back at Kemp but went wide. Notre Dame recovered the miss and Peter Christman, one of the Irish freshmen offensive threats who saw limited time Saturday shot high. Matt Ryan backed up the shot and fed Hubschmann moving from right to left in front. Hubschmann tallied his second goal of the day at 6:00 to narrow the lead again to 2 at 6-4. The teams fought for ground balls in the next possession for 30 seconds with Notre Dame coming out on top, but a shot by Liva was blocked. Liva was later tagged with a penalty on a illegal body check to give Cornell their first extra man opportunity at 3:10. Boulukos was fed by Pittard on the EMO play on the top right, again 15 yards out and converted. 7-4. Cornell converted one of three EMO situations, while Notre Dame converted none of their three opportunities. Cornell closed out the period with two shots by Boulukos.
Clagett won the face to open the fourth quarter but Cornell’s defense pressured the Irish into a turnover, and the Irish responded in kind to Cornell riding them hard until they coughed up the ball. Cornell pressured the Irish again and settled with the ball, using their four corners offense, waiting for Boulukos to sense his timing like a point guard outside the 3-point arc. Again 15 yards out form the top right, Boulukos beat Kemp at 12:14, unassisted for his third score of the game, working through 4 checks and shooting while falling. 8-4. Cornell won the faceoff, but the Irish rode hard and forced a ground ball which Hubschamnn recovered. His pass to Karweck led to a shot that was stopped by McGonagle. Hubschmann then went wide and Podgajny used the rebound to hit the crossbar. Cornell failed to convert on an EMO issued for holding and Kemp pushed two shots away. Cornell was again denied an EMO chance at 3:02 with their two shots going high and wide. Pittard notched is second goal of the game and closed out the Big Red scoring at 1:44, 9-4.
Notre Dame made it interesting, when Walsh revved up again and was fed by Hubschmann. Walsh came from the left and pushed it by McGonagle at 1:19 to make it 9-5. Clagett won the faceoff and Hubschmann found Matt Ryan, who let loose a hard overhand up left and beat McGonagle at 1:01 to close the gap to 9-6. A penalty on Cornell at 0:40 gave the Irish an EMO and hopes of closing the gap even further, but two of their four shots were off and the other two were batted down by McGongale. Cornell left town 2-0 and Notre Dame is even at 1-1, with the Irish hosting North Carolina next Saturday and Cornell hosting Army.
|Brian Hubschmann||(2, 2)|
|Pat Walsh||(2, 0)|
|Matt Ryan||(1, 1)|
|Bill Liva||(0, 1)|
|Michael Podgajny||(0, 1)|
|Matt Karweck||(1, 0)|
|Joey Kemp||14 (0.609)|