Men's lax falls to Ivy leader Cornell

by Stephen Preefer | 4/14/08 6:37am

The Dartmouth men's lacrosse team took another disappointing loss last weekend to falling 16-11 to Ivy powerhouse No. 5 Cornell, Saturday in Ithaca, N.Y.

The loss means the Big Green (4-6, 0-3 Ivy) is still winless in league play and keeps the Big Red (9-2, 4-0 Ivy) in a three-way tie atop the league with Princeton and Brown.

The Big Green was disappointed by their lack of intensity and poor defensive play throughout the game.

"We started out slow and playing without the necessary intensity," captain Doug Rendall '09 said. "As the game went on we became more intense and got close to Cornell. The offense did a pretty good job throughout the game, but the defense needs to continue to get better and make some stops. We're looking forward to the Yale game on Wednesday night, and we'll have to work to make these things better."

The game was highlighted for Dartmouth by a huge performance from Josh Gillam '10, who scored six goals during the game. Gillam's ability to score has been particularly impressive this season because of his shot-to-goal ratio of 66.7 percent, an unprecedented number for NCAA lacrosse.

By contrast, Zack Greer, Duke's star attackman and current NCAA leading goal scorer, is currently converting 47 percent of his shots into goals.

Rendall has been very pleased with Gillam's play and praises him as a huge asset to the team.

"He's been playing really well for us," Rendall said. "Against Penn, Duke and Cornell he's had about five or six points every game. It's been huge for us to have him."

Unfortunately for the Big Green, Gillam's play was one of few rays of light during a hard-fought game in which Dartmouth would never take the lead.

Cornell scored its first goal right out of the gate in the first period. Christopher Ritchie scored the first of his two goals just over a minute into the first quarter. Ryan Hurley, Cornell's emerging star attack, then scored the first two of his five goals in a span of three minutes during a career-high nine point day.

After quickly going down 3-0, Tim Daniels '08, last week's hero that brought the game against the University of Pennsylvania into overtime, put the Big Green on the board with an unassisted goal three minutes after Hurley's second goal.

Two and a half minutes later, Brian Koch '09 scored the first of his two goals on an Ari Sussman '10 assist, bringing the Big Green within one with the score at 3-2.

Cornell's powerful offense responded a minute later with an unassisted score by Chris Finn.

Gillam then brought the score difference to 4-3 in favor of Cornell with his first tally of the game with an assist by Koch.

However, Finn would score again before the end of the first period and from that point on, the Big Green never got back within a goal of the Big Red.

After a 3-0 Cornell run to open the second period, including a goal from Hurley, Gillam struck again on another Sussman assist, bringing the Big Green to an 8-4 deficit which remained through halftime.

To open the second half, Dartmouth and Cornell then traded a pair of goals, Dartmouth getting one from Sussman on a Chad Gaudet '08 assist and Cornell getting a strike from Max Seibald on a Hurley assist.

Following the Sussman goal, Cornell went on another 3-0 run, receiving scores from Hurley and Seibald, putting Cornell on top 12-5.

To break the Cornell run halfway through the third period, Gillam responded with a 3-0 run of his own.

Gillam's goals brought Dartmouth back into the game, leaving the Big Green trailing by four.

Cornell and Dartmouth traded goals again, including Gillam's sixth goal, to end the third quarter.

Although Koch started out the fourth period with a score 30 seconds in, Cornell immediately responded, initiating another three-goal streak to go up 16-10.

The loss drops the Big Green in the Ancient Eight standings to the point where a league championship looks unattainable.

"Our Ivy chances are pretty slim," Rendall said. "We're just looking forward to the rest of the season and we're taking it one game at a time."

When asked what it would take to propel the team into the NCAA tournament, Rendall suggested that the team would have to win out its remaining schedule, which includes games against No. 3 University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. and No. 15 Princeton in Hanover.

The Big Green hopes to rebound against Yale in Hanover on Wednesday.