Okay, so I'm a moron. Between underestimating the driving time to Cornell, the hurricane that was hanging around in upstate New York, and getting a little lost, I finally made it to the game with about 10:00 left in the 2nd. When I parked my car it was already 6-2 Cornell, and by the time I made it into the stadium, Syracuse had climbed to within two on set-ups from Mike Powell.
The play was getting a little sloppy in the middle of the field largely because of overthrown passes while clearing, or occasionally because of forced drives right after the transition. Justin Cynar and Jay Pfeifer also took turns snagging some cross-crease feeds that passed right in front of their noses. Once Cornell settled after the flurry of turnovers, middie Justin Redd dropped into what would be the Big Red's gameplan all afternoon: invert their middies (most of the time it would be Redd) for a draw and dump against a Syracuse shortstick, and never, ever challenge John Glatzel. Redd managed to get a step while driving around righty, but fed into a cluster in the middle of the hole. Luckily for Cornell however, Sol Bliss got flagged for a 1:00 crosscheck during the loose ball fight that followed. Cornell ended up throwing the ball away on the endline, and after Glatzel initiated a smart man-down clear, Spencer Wright ran out the penalty with a nice job of catch-the-rabbit.
Cuse worked the ball around the perimeter almost as if Desko had told them they needed a certain amount of passes before they could do anything; they were clearly itching to go straight to the goal, and the perimeter passing never really made the defense adjust. It was in sharp contrast to Cornell's deliberate drives, feigns, and retreats ( I wouldn't classify Cornell as stalling at all except for one instance in the third). Syracuse ended up forcing a drive into the middle that had the ball slapped away after a collapsing slide from the point, but Cuse recovered up top. The ball got rotated to Coffman at goal line extended off to Cynar's left, and as Coffman drifted behind with his head up, he found a streaking Powell burning through the middle, left to right, just a couple of yards off of the crease. Powell snagged it righty and nailed a seamless behind the back to the bottom of the far pipe. 6-5 Cornell with a 1:30 to go in the half. About :15 later Syracuse would tie it up when the face was taken cleanly and bumped to Powell in the middle, who then darted to his left for a rip that beat Cynar. Syracuse controlled the face again, but a right-handed Spencer Wright drive from top center was picked from behind, and the clock ran out while Cornell was trying to push it upfield.
Interesting note for the 1st half: Pfeiffer only had 1 save.
The third started with another take by Wright, this time from the right wing, where he succeeded in getting underneath his shorti defender for a goalline extended drive. He switched to his left for a shot with more angle, but Cynar played great position and smothered the attempted five-hole bouncer. Cynar immediately hit an outlet which ended up in JP Schalk's hands at the top of the key. He split to his right and dumped across the grain to Redd, who was sitting dead center in the middle of the hole. Redd finished with a little bit of a wind-up for a 7-6 lead. But Syracuse would charge right back just :05 seconds later when Jarret Park grabbed the face and burned straight down the middle for an unassisted tally. But Cornell answered that one too. Justin Redd collected at the top of the box and pulled off a quick split dodge to his left. He drew an unusual amount of attention from the middle, which left Cuse exposed on the low backside. Redd anticipated the open man brilliantly and completed a beautiful cross-field look to Greenhalgh on the pipe, where Greenhalgh finished uncontested.
FYI, Redd played bigger than his numbers would indicate (even though he was 4 and 2). He was the catalyst for nearly every settled opportunity on Cornell's end, the mandate all game was clearly to get him the ball behind against a shorti, and he rarely ever forced anything (anytime Glatzel started prowling in his vicinity, Redd dumped it off). He also gave Syracuse's sliding scheme fits because he could feed on a dime.
Syracuse tied it up again, this time at 8-8, when after several extended iso attempts from Springer, Coffman, and Powell, all from the back corners, Powell drop stepped on Tim DeBlois as he was coming around right and found Tom Hardy cutting towards him from the middle of the crease. Cornell's interior was caught a little flat-footed on Hardy's cut because everyone seemed to readying themselves to double on Powell. Hardy grabbed it , turned his shoulders to Cynar, and burned a low bouncer from 7 yards out on the run. Cornell went up by one yet again after the next face on an unassisted outside blast from Galen Beers, but I couldn't tell you exactly what happened since I was fiddling with my camera.
Cornell then pulled their one blatant Princeton stall-ball routine for the game; they were pretending to be looking for the right match behind, but were clearly doing nothing other than moving it back and forth with an interminable "no, that wasn't what we're looking for, I guess we'll have to setup again" con-job. The refs rightfully told them to keep it in
and then Cornell went to work for real on a shortstick iso from the back right corner. Sophomore Mike Riordan, who had never scored a goal in a Cornell uniform, took control at the back pipe to Pfeifer's right and worked a series of rolls and rocker-steps that Cuse's interior looked a little hesitant to slide on. Riordan got a little too close though, and when he pulled off a tight, sharp roll to the inside on his shorti, the Orangeman slide was too far away to stop Riordan from extending it righty past Pfeifer's outside leg. 10-8 Cornell.
At this point both teams were getting their shots, but almost none of them were the result of dodges against their respective close defensemen. Glatzel and St. George were avoided like the plague by Cornell's attackmen, and while Coffman and Powell routinely took it to the hoop, they never managed to beat either Ryan McClay and Tim DeBlois in a pure one-on-one situation. Powell and Coffman tend to make jarring, bee-line cuts and then pause to float for second, usually in hopes of getting their defenseman leaning one way or another, or at least moving towards them. But McClay and DeBlois always kept their shoulders square, their legs shuffling, and an active, but not over-committed, stick at the hip. They're very tough to get around the corner on.
Syracuse would close to within one on a :30 second EMO, the result of a Chris Viola push during a loose ball scramble on the sidelines. After bumping it around the horn quickly, Brian Nee skipped a pass to Springer, who was camped out in the lefty shooter's spot up top. Springer had time to wind up, which is never good, and he bombed a lefty rip that ricocheted on the left pipe and in. 10-9 Cornell. Cornell would then pump in the next 2 to end the quarter. First Redd drove the left pipe, and as was his MO for the night, dumped it Andrew Collins in the heart of the Syracuse defense once the slide came. Collins miraculously had time to cock his stick, step up, and pick his spot, all from 5 yards out. Pfeifer was helpless to stop the offside hip burner. Then with 1:00 minute left Cornell went up 12-9 on a nearly identical play; Colin Crawford drove the same pipe from behind and hit Greenhalgh as he was moving towards him, all for easy 5 yard bouncer. The only difference with this goal was that the shooter was moving when he got the ball.
The 3rd came to an end with an inconsequential :30 push on Sol Bliss. But the one glaring problem with Syracuse heading into the fourth was the ease with which Cornell could get time and room when dodging against Cuse's shortsticks, mostly Brett Walther and Tom Hardy today. It kept the Orangemen lonsticks in a constant state of panic, and even if Cornell's inverts couldn't flat-out beat their defenders, they had a huge amount of time to look the field over, and all from within about 5 yards of the crease.
Justin Redd started the action for Cornell in the fourth. He actually challenged Glatzel on a righty drive from behind, but Glatzel summarily dismissed Redd to the ground as Redd came around goal line extended. The only problem was that Glatzel got flagged for a completely BS push from behind for a :30 second Cornell EMO. Cuse forced the ensuing man-up to keep it around the horn, with no real threats, until a loose ball went Syracuse's way. Pfeifer bolted out to his left, with the ball, to start the clear, and had to negotiate with an Andrew Collins flying at him. In one of the headier plays I've seen, Pfeifer pumped on the fake outlet pass, which got Collins in the air, and then leaned his helmet into Collins' stick for a flag and a 1:00 minute Cuse EMO. Syracuse would capitalize on it. After moving it around the outside a little, Brian Nee took a ridiculous no-angle shot from off to Cynar's left, but Cornell's lonsticks tipped the rebound out and Cuse controlled again. Nee got another chance, when Powell fed across the face of the goal from left to right, and this time Nee coverted on an underhand lefty for a 12-10 Cornell lead.
Playing to the same script all afternoon though, Cornell answered right back on a great individual effort from Tim DeBlois. DeBlois shook off two Syracuse riders near the midfield and rolled into the middle to come straight down the pipe. Sol Bliss slid upfield to hit him (and he did crush him), but just before Bliss got there DeBois whipped it to the left pipe, where Collins was waiting for a nice little dunk and a 13-10 lead. Cornell won the next face and immediately pushed it to Collins on the point of the 4-3 break. Collins took a massive sidearm rip that nailed the crossbar and sailed back outside the restraining line, which Cuse's Jarrett Park snapped up and bolted the other way with. Once Park hit his own restraining line he dumped it to Springer off to his right, and Springer buried a lefty overhand just inside the left pipe. Cornell now led 13-11 with about 10:00 minutes left.
Cornell was now really taking their sweet time on offense, and you could see a little sense of urgency creeping into Syracuse's big guns. Cornell's Justin Redd was setting up behind for a run (or at this point, a pretend run) against Brett Walther, until Glatzel decided to come flying from the middle and force the action with a double team. Redd slipped to the turf on an attempted roll away from Glatzel and the ball headed the other way. Surprisingly though, Syracuse was comfortable with Pat Hogan being the one to take his chances going to the hoop from up top. He drove right handed, and from 15 yards out, with Cynar getting a great look the whole time, Hogan let loose a righty overhand straight to the middle of Cynar's chest. Cynar caught it and sent it the other way. Redd again set up behind, this time ready for a double. Bliss was the one who obliged, and Redd rolled back to X after faking like he was going to leg it out to the outside. Bliss couldn't recover and Redd made a line for Pfeifer's left pipe, where he promptly stuck a lefty bouncer from right outside the paint. Cornell pushed their lead to 15-11 after another sick clear and dump from one of their stalwart defensemen, this time
Ryan McClay. He burned down the left sideline with a power cradle, and after leaving Powell behind him at the midfield line, whipped it Greenhalgh on the right pipe for a layup.
There was now under 5:00 minutes to go, and although Syracuse had their chances, they just couldn't find the back of the net. First Coffman nailed Cynar in the chest after a nice redirect from Brian Nee at the top of the box. Then Powell snapped off a great feed to his right on a lightening quick split dodge from up top, but Spencer Wright shot wide left despite having all the room in the world. Cornell got to control again, and Pfeifer was in full double mode starting at the 2:00 minute mark. It was causing havoc with the Big Red, but every trip behind the goal seemed to knock off at least :20 seconds. Some up and downs, and a disallowed goal on a pretty give and go from Coffman to Sean Lindsey (I'm not sure why it was disallowed) at the :17 second mark, and Cornell was going into their locker room with their 2nd straight home win against the Orangemen, and their longest winning streak since their '87 National Championship Game season.
Cornell vs. Syracuse
|Justin Redd||(4, 2)|
|Sean Greenhalgh||(6, 0)|
|Andrew Collins||(2, 1)|
|Billy Fort||(0, 3)|
|Tim Deblois||(0, 2)|
|Jp Schalk||(1, 1)|
|Colin Crawford||(0, 1)|
|Mike Riordan||(1, 0)|
|Galen Beers||(1, 0)|
|Ryan Mcclay||(0, 1)|