After a well-deserved weekend off, the Cornell men’s lacrosse team will get back into things this weekend when it squares off against Ivy foe Brown. The Bears make the long trip from Providence, R.I. for a 3 p.m. senior day faceoff on Saturday at Schoellkopf Field.
After trouncing the No. 14 Syracuse Orange last Tuesday by a score of 12-6, the No. 3 Red (9-1, 4-0 Ivy League) took a long-awaited weekend break as it prepared for its final regular season home game. While the Red should enter the game refreshed and ready to finish out the season strong, the Bears (5-7, 1-3), will enter tomorrow’s contest riding a wave of success it hasn’t experienced all season. The Bears recently took down Penn and Providence and took Yale to four overtimes in what ultimately ended up in a loss, 11-10, all in the last two weeks.
“There was a little bit of frustration before the Syracuse game,” said senior midfielder Mitch McMichael. “We just weren’t playing up to our potential. I think the guys are a little more relaxed after the Syracuse game. We’re still just as focused, we’re still not content with how we’ve played. I think it was a good stepping stone in the right direction to get a pretty decent game against Syracuse.
“I think we’re going to build off of that momentum gained from the Syracuse game and bring it into the Brown game,” said freshman attackman and four-time Ivy League Rookie of the Week Matt Donovan. “It’s a whole new opponent and we’ve got to focus that way.”
While Brown’s record may not be impressive, what is impressive is how well it has been able to hang in with some of the big names in college lacrosse, most notably No. 5 Duke, who narrowly escaped the Bears in Durham, N.C., fending off a late Brown rally to sneak out a close, 9-8, victory. In the Ivy League, the Bears have been just as competitive, holding every Ancient Eight opponent to within one goal — with the exception of No. 13 Princeton, who shellacked the Bears, 13-2, back on March 31st.
“It’s going to a tough game — it’s an Ivy League game,” Donovan said. “You can throw records out the window.”
Led by senior attackman Parker Brown, who has notched 27 points on the season, the Bears currently sit in fifth place in the conference and will be desperate for a win as they look to snatch the fourth and final spot in the Ivy League Tournament. On the field, big contributions are coming from sophomore attackman Sam Huster, who has racked up 21 goals so far, and freshman attackman Nick Piroli, who has tallied 18. While Brown has had its strong moments, the team has suffered several blowouts this season, leaving the squad with an average of nine goals per game while giving up an average 10 goals per game.
“They have a pretty balanced offense,” McMichael said. “Defensively they’re pretty typical. They have a slower-paced offense that we might be able to take advantage of.”
Look for Cornell to try and jump out to a quick lead as it tries to crush the Bears’ spirits early on and remain undefeated in Ivy League play as it moves into its final regular season weekend – an away weekend at fellow Ivy League leader Princeton. However, don’t expect the Red to look past the Bears, a team that has proven dangerous this season – just ask Duke or Yale what Brown is capable of – and will be hungry to try and gain a position in the Ivy League Tournament by bringing an end to Cornell’s 16-game home win-streak, the longest in the nation, on senior day.
“It’s an Ivy League opponent,” Donovan said. “With it being senior day – it’s going to be the last time the seniors get to play on Schoellkopf in the regular season – that’s probably going to play a pretty big role and I think you’re going to see more of the same from the seniors who have been so instrumental in our season thus far.”
“We’re just looking at it as the next game on our schedule,” McMichael said.