Defense, Faceoffs Key Cornell Victory
from press release
ITHACA, N.Y. – After the offense took
center stage in the Big Red men's lacrosse team's season-opening
win over Hobart, the defense took its turn to shine in Tuesday's
11-6 home-opening win over Binghamton. The seventh-ranked Big Red
improved to 2-0 on the season, while the Bearcats slipped to
Cornell had three different stretches of at least 14 minutes without allowing Binghamton to score and allowed just three goals in 56 minutes with the starting defense on the field. Senior goalkeeper AJ Fiore was exceptional, making 13 saves and allowing just three goals (all playing man down) before being lifted late. He made nine saves while allowing just one goal in the decisive first half. Fiore's defense forced 11 turnovers, including four from Thomas Keith, and helped force the Bearcats into five failed clears, including three in the first period.
The defense got a huge assist from the face-off game, which was controlled all afternoon by Doug Tesoriero. The junior won 18-of-21 re-starts, including each of the first 12, to consistently give the home team possession after possession. That helped generate 58 total shots, including 48 in the first three quarters.
While the Big Red peppered Binghamton with shots, Bearcat goalkeeper Max Schefler kept the game in reach for his team with 19 saves, including a number of highlight reel stops. His fine play kept Binghamton within shouting distance despite a decided territorial disadvantage.
It takes a lot to drop the offense this far into a game story, but the defense, goalkeeping and face-off units did just that. Senior Rob Pannell continued his torrid start with three goals and an assist as seven different Cornell players scored a goal and nine scored at least one point prior to halftime. Pannell added five ground balls and put 11 of his 18 shots on goal, but Schefler was able to make eight stops on the 2011 National Player of the Year. He got plenty of help from the midfield combo of Max Van Bourgondien and Connor Buczek, who each had two goals.
Cornell improved to 10-0 all-time against Binghamton in a game that was never in doubt even as the Big Red struggled to put the Bearcats away. It won its 15th straight home opener and improved to 15-1 at home under head coach Ben DeLuca.
The Big Red scored the game's first three goals as Pannell tallied twice on his own and found Jason Noble for the third, but the Bearcats got on the board late in the first quarter when Tucker Nelson was able to cash in on a man-up opportunity. Binghamton scored all three of its man-up goals against Fiore, and wasn't able to cash in on him in even strength situations.
Cornell upped its lead to 6-1 at the break as Van Bourgondien, Buczek and John Hogan each found the back of the net in succession to end the first half.
Binghamton was able to get back on the board on an extra-man situation three minutes into the third quarter to get within 6-2, but Cornell answered with five of the next six tallies to make it 11-3 midway through the fourth. John Edmonds capped the Big Red scoring with 6:42 left and both squads started emptying their benches after a Cornell timeout with less than five minutes remaining. The Bearcats scored three times in the final 3:43 against the Big Red's reserves to get within five goals at the final horn.
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