History repeated itself today at the Ulrich Sports Complex as the Cornell men’s lacrosse team extended its winning streak against Lehigh, beating the Mountain Hawks 9-5 — their seventh straight win against the brown and white.
This was Lehigh’s second loss this season. The non-conference matchup was tightly contested, with both teams struggling to break down their opposition’s defense. However, a late flurry of goals gave Cornell momentum and the win.
Both sets of fans came out in force, ready to watch their side make history — Lehigh awaiting its first victory against Cornell since 1916, and Cornell hoping to extend its era of dominance. Lehigh’s loss today means the overall series is tied at 9-9-3.
Lehigh (1-2) started the game quickly with sophomore Scott Cole scoring his first of three goals just 1:16 into the game. Cole finished the game with a hat trick, building on his scoring success. Cole scored four goals at Hobart last week.
“I think we’re still trying to put all of our pieces together,” Cole said. “I haven’t really put any more pressure on myself. I know guys need to step up, and I felt like our offense puts us in a position to make plays. It’s just been my turn, and so I’m just going to keep trying to do everything I can possibly do to help the team win.”
Cornell regrouped and drew even 3:44 into the game with a snapshot from senior JJ Lombardi straight off the faceoff. A misplaced pass gave Cornell possession midway through the first quarter, setting up an opportunity to take the lead. Cornell sophomore CJ Kirst scored his second goal of the season to give Cornell the 2-1 advantage.
The game came to life in the second quarter, with both teams going on scoring runs. Cornell extended their lead early, scoring twice in just over a minute. Lehigh responded just as swiftly, with a goal from freshman Dakota Elerman 6:34 into the second. Before the quarter ended, both teams would strike once each, with Cornell sophomore Hugh Kelleher and Cole adding to the scoresheet.
Neither team could make a breakthrough during the third quarter, with the scores remaining the same going into the fourth. Lehigh faceoff specialist Mike Sisselberger broke a personal milestone when he recorded his 200th ground ball win of his career.
“It’s definitely a cool accomplishment, but it stinks because we obviously lost,” Sisselberger said. “It’s definitely great to have goals for yourself, like career landmarks, but I wish we could have come out with the win.”
With the game in the balance heading into the final quarter, both teams fought ferociously for the faceoff, but Cornell came away with the ball. Uncharacteristically of the Lehigh defense, Cornell waltzed toward goal, resulting in a score by Cornell fifth-year John Piatelli at the 1:50 mark.
“I thought both teams played really good defense,” Lehigh coach Kevin Cassese said. “I thought that we played a little bit too much of it, and part of that was them, and part of that was us. For the second week in a row, we were clean in some areas that we needed to be. Defensively, I thought we played pretty well, but offensively there is a lot to be desired right now.”
Lehigh fought back to bring the score within one at 6-5 when Cole grabbed his third of the match and junior Andrew Mapstone fired in his first of the season with Cornell playing a man down.
The momentum seemed to be with Lehigh, but after securing a hotly contested faceoff, Cornell went on a scoring blitz. With three goals in two minutes, Cornell sealed a victory to extend their dominance over Lehigh for another year.
“We felt like we could start the second half on a positive note,” Cassese said. “We drew a penalty to kind of cancel out their penalty, so we felt like we could win the faceoff and get a good extra man to start it off in the third quarter, but our offense, unfortunately, didn’t come through with that.”
Lehigh plays next against Navy, March 5 at 3 p.m. at home.
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