March 31, 2012

Cornell Uses Late Goalie Switch to Beat Big Green

from press release

HANOVER, N.H. – It's an old sports adage that the best offense is a great defense and that was certainly the case today as the No. 5 Cornell men's lacrosse team limited Dartmouth to just one goal through the first 41:01 of the game and then held off a late Big Green run to escape Scully-Fahey Field with a 7-5 victory. With the win, the Big Red improves to 7-1 overall and 3-0 in the Ivy League, while Dartmouth falls to 2-5 on the season and 0-2 in the conference.

The Big Red defense was impressive for long stretches of time, causing seven of Dartmouth's 20 turnovers and holding the Big Green to 1-of-5 in extra-man opportunities. Sophomore Andrew West made five saves, three of which were from point-blank range, and allowed four goals through the first 51:23 of the contest before giving way to AJ Fiore, who made three outstanding saves and allowed just one goal in the final 8:37 of play.

Cornell controlled long stretches of the game, thanks to a dominant performance in the face-off circle, winning 11-of-15 restarts, with Doug Tesoriero going 10-of-13 and collecting a game-high six ground balls.

The offense was led by Steve Mock and Chris Langton with two goals apiece, while Matt Donovan quarterbacked the team with three assists. Roy Lang (two assists) and Max Van Bourgondien (one goal, one assist) both registered multi-point games, while Connor English and Mitch McMichael finished with one tally apiece.

Nikki Dysenchuk (three goals), Kip Dooley (one goal, two assists) and Brendan Rotanz (one goal, one assist) combined for all but one of Dartmouth's points on the day, but it was senior goalie Fergus Campbell that kept the Big Green in the game with eight saves and six ground balls.

Cornell held the advantage in shots (34-24) and ground balls (30-27), but went just 2-of-7 on extra man opportunities. Both teams turned the ball over 20 times with one failed clear apiece.

The Big Red had several quality offensive possessions to begin the game, including a man-up opportunity, but couldn't find the back of the net in the early moments of the first quarter and Dartmouth took advantage with an early 1-0 lead when Rotanz scored in an unsettled situation.

Less than two minutes later, Cornell knotted the game at 1-1 when Lang dodged to the cage, faked a shot and then dumped the ball to Mock on the crease. Mock faked high and beat Campbell down low to pull Cornell even.

The Big Red survived its first man-down situation of the game thanks to a spectacular doorstop save by West and the teams went into the first intermission tied at 1-1.

English gave Cornell its first lead of the game as he took a pass from Lang and converted on a high rocket from the right alley to make it a 2-1 game at the 11:01 mark.

Great defense set up the Big Red's next goal as Thomas Keith forced a turnover, one of two on the afternoon for the defensive midfielder, and Cornell earned a man-up opportunity on the other end. After failing to convert its first two chances of the game, the third time proved to be the charm, as Langton blasted a low shot past Campbell off a pass from Donovan to put Cornell up, 3-1 with exactly 5:00 remaining in the half.

Another brilliant doorstop save by West ended Dartmouth's last offensive possession of the half and Cornell took the 3-1 lead into the break.

The Big Red opened the third quarter with a Langton goal in the opening minutes as the senior midfielder dodged the right alley and beat Campbell down low to push the Big Red's lead to 4-1.

Dartmouth earned another man-up opportunity but failed to capitalize and moments later, Cornell earned a man-up chance of its own and McMichael converted on a high laser off a pass from Donovan to make it a 5-1 game at the 6:39 mark.

Just over one minute later, Van Bourgondien found Mock on the crease and the junior attackman converted to put Cornell up, 6-1.

Dysenchuk ended Cornell's 6-0 scoring run with back-to-back goals with less than four minutes to play in the third quarter to make it a 6-3 Big Red lead heading into the final intermission.

Dartmouth got its third consecutive goal with a rising shot from Dooley, driving West from the game as the Big Green cut Cornell's lead to 6-4 with 8:37 to play in the contest.

Back-to-back man-up opportunities for Cornell allowed the visitors to run valuable time of the clock but another save by Campbell returned the ball to Dartmouth with 5:30 remaining.

An outstanding defensive stand, including two huge saves by Fiore on the first two shots he faced on the day, returned the ball to the Big Red when an errant Dartmouth pass gave the visitors the ball at midfield with 2:41 to play. Van Bourgondien wasted no time, scoring on the restart as he drove from midfield to the goal and beat Campbell low to make it a 7-4 advantage with 2:32 to play.

Cornell won the ensuing face-off but a miscue on the offensive end as a Cornell player stepped out of the box during a stall warning gave the ball back to the Big Green, but Noble caused a turnover with just over one minute to play and the Big Red worked more time off the clock.

Dartmouth eventually won the ball back and Fiore made another outstanding save on a shot by Drew Tunney, but the Big Green came up with the ball and took advantage of a defensive miscue as Dysenchuk scored again with 31 seconds to play to account for the 7-5 final.

Cornell returns home to face Harvard at Schoellkopf Field on Saturday, April 7 at 1 p.m.


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