March 15, 2014

Cornell Gets Balanced Effort, Dispatches Yale 11-9

from Press Release

ITHACA, N.Y. – Cornell exploded offensively in the first half, but its steady defense and special teams were the key as the Big Red won its Ivy League opener over Yale 11-9 on Saturday afternoon at Schoellkopf Field. Cornell remained just one of two unbeaten teams in NCAA Division I men's lacrosse (6-0, 1-0 Ivy), while the Bulldogs slipped to 3-2 (0-1 Ivy).

"We knew it would be a dogfight," said interim head coach Matt Kerwick. "I think the first half was one of our best halves of play so far this season. It's challenging to be up 10-5 at halftime against a very good team, but we took 12 shots in the third so I don't think we took our foot off the gas. We had some good looks, we just didn't finish them."

John Edmonds had career-highs with three goals and had two assists, Matt Donovan notched three goals and an assist and both Dan Lintner and Joe Paoletta were credited with two goals. Connor Buczek also had a career-high as he assisted on five of the Big Red's 10 first half goals.

But when the offense went quiet in the second half, Cornell's defense kept it's lead safe.

Freshman goalkeeper Christian Knight had 14 saves and had a huge interception in the final minute as the Big Red tried to maintain the lead while Yale was on a man advantage desperate to tie it up. Nine different players caused a turnover against the Bulldogs, an NCAA quarterfinalist a year ago. Jordan Stevens and the rest of the Big Red defense bottled up Yale's leading scorer, Brandon Mangan, who was held to one assist and had his 24-game goal scoring streak, the second-longest in the country, snapped.

"Jordan played one of the best defensive games I've seen in a long time," said Kerwick. He deserves a lot of credit because he was outstanding."

Conrad Overbeck and Sean Shakespeare each had a pair of goals for Yale, while Shane Thornton notched a pair of assists. All-America face-off specialist Dylan Levings was 13-of-23 on face-offs, but Cornell's Doug Tesoriero had the edge at the half (9-7) as the Big Red jumped out to a 10-5 lead on the scoreboard.

Cornell held the edge in shots (41-34) and ground balls (36-33). The Big Red also held Yale to just 1-of-5 on man-up chances, while converting 1-of-2 offensively. Both teams had two failed clears, as Cornell had 16 turnovers and Yale posted 14.

Bulldog goalie Eric Natale finished with 11 saves in 57:55, while Jack Meyer stopped the lone shot he faced.

The action was fast and furious in the first period as the teams traded goals before a tally by Paoletta with 14 seconds to go started a 5-0 scoring run for the home team.

Yale opened the game with a transition goal as Oberbeck cashed in just over one minute into the contest off a pass from Alexander Otero.

A pair of goals by Lintner were sandwiched around a tally by Max Skibber to make it a 2-2 contest at the 9:48 mark. Both of Lintner's goals were scored on the crease off a pass from Buczek.

Shakespeare blasted a shot from the left wing to give the Bulldogs its final lead of the contest with just under eight minutes to go in the first half, but Sten Jernudd got the equalizer for Cornell less than two minutes later on a blast from the right wing.

A highlight reel goal by Edmonds, who caught a pass from Buczek in traffic and shoveled it past Natale, gave the Big Red its first lead of the contest at the 3:25 mark. Moments later, Levings won the face-off, raced to goal, and tied the game at 4-4.

With time winding down in the first quarter, Buczek sent a cross-crease pass to Paoletta, who scored to start the decisive run and put Cornell up for good.

Edmonds scored off a pass from Hogan early in the second quarter, before Hogan found Donovan to make it 7-4 at the 11:57 mark.

Donovan scored twice more for the natural hat trick to make it a 9-4 game.

Oberbeck ended Yale's 15:24 scoreless streak but just over 30 seconds later Edmonds scored off a pass from Buczek to account for the 10-5 score at the intermission.

Both teams' defenses tightened up in the second half, and the two goalies combined for 15 saves to completely change the complexion of the game.

Yale scored three unanswered goals, coming of the sticks of Colin Flaherty, Shakespeare and Oberbeck to make it a 10-8 contest, but Paoletta scored with just three seconds remaining in the quarter to return the three goal advantage to the home team.

The Bulldogs registered the lone tally of the fourth quarter, with Shakespeare scoring off an assist from Thornton, but with a man-up chance for the final 56 seconds of the game, Knight picked off a Yale pass and then came up with a big save in the final moments to preserve the 11-9 victory.

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