After what seems to a considerable time at home, the men’s lacrosse team suffered a crushing defeat as Cornell took on top-ranked Virginia on Saturday. The last time the Red lost by such a considerable margin at Schoellkopf Field was in 1998, when the team fell to the Princeton Tigers, 15-5. Saturday’s contest ended 12-4, which also represented the fewest number of goals scored during head coach Jeff Tambroni’s tenure.
The game saw Virginia dominate in every aspect of game play. The Cavaliers outshot the Red, 40-29, and also made more saves, 14-12. Additionally Virginia won 11 of 20 faceoffs. Although neither team was able to fully capitalize on power plays, Virginia’s defense was apparently too strong for Cornell to get through.
“Their goalie, Adam Ghitleman … played very well yesterday. We weren’t shooting too much on him early on and this gave him confidence to shut down our offense throughout the rest of the game,” said senior midfielder Austin Boykin.
The only goal for the Red in the first half came with 3:16 to go, and was scored by sophomore midfielder Chris Langton.
With the Red trailing by five at the end of the first half, Virginia continued to pile it on.
“Our offense really had some trouble getting into the flow of the game, and their midfield is very strong. The Bratton brothers are definitely a challenge for any defense,” Boykin said.
Boykin also expressed that one of the things that created a gap between the play of both teams was experience. Many of the players on Cornell’s roster are new and getting into the swing of things, whereas Virginia’s team has many veteran players, especially on its defense.
“Last year we went to Charlottesville and felt like we had a veteran group. We wanted to see where we were, but we also felt like we could run with them and compete with them, and I thought we did,” Tambroni said in a press conference. “This year we felt like we probably needed to do it a little more … Virginia proved to us that they’re clearly one of the top two teams –– if not the top –– team in the country and it also proved to us that we have a long way to go.”
Tambroni emphasized that the game was also a good gauge to see how well the Red is doing at this point in time; that said, starting today practices will be geared towards remedying the issues that came up in Saturday’s game, as well as working on getting the younger players more acclimated to the team.