Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2007 by .
DURHAM, N.C. - The Cornell University men's lacrosse team, ranked number one in the nation,
remained perfect on the season this evening as it defeated No. 5 Duke, 7-6, at Koskinen Stadium. Senior Eric Pittard's man-up goal with 8:54 remaining in the contest proved to be the game-winner as the Big Red improves to 5-0 on the year.
Cornell was led by senior David Mitchell (Moose Jaw, Sask.), who scored his third hat trick of the season, while sophomore Max Seibald (Hewlett, N.Y.) registered a goal and two assists. In addition to the game-winner, Pittard also tallied an assist as Cornell's only other multi-point scorer.
The Blue Devils, who fall to 5-2 on the season, got two goals apiece from Matt Danowski and Sam Payton, while Zack Greer scored a goal and added an assist.
The game was a tightly contested, defensive battle with both goalies making tremendous saves. For the Big Red, senior Matt McMonagle (Bryn Mar, Pa.) stopped 11 shots, while Duke's Dan Loftus stopped 17.
The home team struck first when Bo Carrington drove down the right side of the field and sent a cross-crease pass to Payton, who beat McMonagle up high to make it 1-0 at the 10:15 mark.
Just under four minutes later, Mitchell knotted the game at 1-1 when he swept from behind the cage, beat a double-team and got off a left handed shot that hit the cross bar and bounced into the net.
Danowski took advantage of a defensive mismatch to get Duke's second goal of the game, as a defensive switch left him defended by an offensive midfielder, and the attackman made the Big Red pay as he beat his man and slipped a low shot past McMonagle to make it 2-1 with 1:24 remaining in the opening quarter.
Danowski put Duke up by two goals at the 9:11 mark of the second period as he wrapped around from behind the crease and snuck a shot just under the cross bar to make it 3-1.
Cornell cut the deficit to a single tally with 90 seconds to play in the half when a loose ball was picked up by Danny Nathan. The junior defender sent a long pass up field to Mitchell, who caught the Duke defenders out of position, and ripped a bounce shot past Loftus to make to 3-2.
Despite winning the ensuing face-off, just its first win of the half, Cornell couldn't hold on to the ball and Nick Greer sent the Blue Devils into the intermission with a 4-2 lead, scoring with just 13 ticks on the clock.
Duke took 20 shots in the first half, while the Big Red managed only 10, but Cornell was kept in the contest by the brilliant play of McMonagle, who made six saves.
McMonagle continued his strong play as the second half began, making two saves on the Blue Devil's first possession.
Cornell used the defensive momentum to pull back within one goal as Pittard sent a pass from behind the cage to senior Henry Bartlett, who was just outside the crease, and one-timed it into the back of the net to make it 4-3.
The Big Red tied the game for the second time as Seibald picked up a loose ball, drove to the cage and beat Loftus with a bounce shot to make it 4-4, at the 9:17 mark.
Senior Brian Clayton gave Cornell its first lead of the contest, taking a perfect pass from Seibald and cranking a shot from 15-yards out to beat Loftus up high to make it 5-4 with just over four minutes to play in the third quarter.
Just over one minute later, however, Peter Lamade knotted the game at 5-5 as he ripped a low shot into the cage while being knocked to the ground.
With just six seconds left in the quarter, the Blue Devils took the lead back as Payton received a pass from Greer and beat McMonagle over his left shoulder to make it 6-5 in favor of the home team.
The Big Red struck immediately in the fourth quarter as John Glynn won the face off and dished to Mitchell, whose initial shot was saved. Mitchell managed to pick up the rebound and score on the second effort, making it 6-6 just seven seconds into the final stanza.
After being unable to convert its first two extra-man opportunities, Cornell earned its first man-up goal of the game at the 8:54 mark, and it proved to be the game-winner. Seibald won a fierce battle for a loose ball and streaked towards the cage, where he drew the double team before passing off to Pittard, who was parked just outside the crease and one-timed it past Loftus to give Cornell the 7-6 lead.
The teams battled back and fourth for the remainder of the quarter, and a late turnover by the Big Red gave Duke the ball with 1:33 remaining. Following a timeout, the Blue Devils worked the ball to Danowski whose shot hit the cross bar and ricocheted all the way to the midfield, where Cornell regained possession with 48 seconds remaining in the game.
The Big Red ran out the final 48 seconds to escape Durham with the 7-6 victory.
After being out shot significantly in the first half, Cornell turned the tables in the second half, including a 14-3 advantage in the critical fourth quarter, to hold a 35-32 lead in shots for the game. The Blue Devils held the edge in ground balls (39-31) and face offs (11-of-15), but were unable to convert on its two extra man opportunities, while the Big Red went 1-for-3.
Cornell is back in action this weekend, as it opens Ivy League play at Yale on Saturday, March 24. Face-off is scheduled at Reese Stadium for 2 p.m.
NOTES: Cornell is the first team this season to earn the top spot in the national polls and then win its next game ... The Big Red improves to 5-0 to start a season for the second time in Coach Jeff Tambroni's tenure (2006) ... With the win, Coach Jeff Tambroni earned his 63rd career victory, giving him sole possession of third place in Cornell history for wins by a head coach ... The win is the Big Red's third straight over a top 10 opponent (No. 8 Notre Dame, No. 9 Army, No. 5 Duke).