The Cornell men’s lacrosse dominated in every facet of the game and advanced to the program’s fourth NCAA Final Four in the last eight years with a 16-6 victory over No. 3 Ohio State on Saturday afternoon at Maryland’s Byrd Stadium. The Big Red improved to 14-3, while OSU’s season ends at 13-4.
Senior attackmen Steve Mock scored a career-high seven goals, matching a Cornell record for individual goals in an NCAA tournament game, and classmate Rob Pannell one-upped him with eight points (two goals, six assists) to lead an offense that scored 16 goals in the first three quarters in exceeding its efficient production in its first round win over Maryland in the same stadium the week before.
Connor Buczek had three goals and two assists, senior goalkeeper AJ Fiore made 10 saves and junior faceoff man Doug Tesoriero won 16-of-24 to seemingly give the Cornell offense every possession. The Big Red held decisive advantages in shots (37-20), ground balls (39-28), saves (10-8), faceoffs (16-10) and caused turnovers (12-8). It went 1-of-1 on the extra man and held an Ohio State team that entered the day leading the country in 50 percent efficiency on man-up to an 0-for-4 day.
The defense had another huge day in front of Fiore, with Jason Noble (three caused turnovers) and Thomas Keith (three caused turnovers, six ground balls) leading the way. Keith in particular seemed to be all over the field from start to finish. Fiore was outstanding himself, adding five ground ball wins and two caused turnovers to his 10-save effort.
The game was the polar opposite of the last meeting between the two teams in the NCAA tournament. The Buckeyes scored first when their goalie went the length of the field and scored and were off and running en route to a 15-7 victory during the first round in 2008. This time, scoring came early and often for attackmen – the ones wearing red.
Midway through the fourth quarter Ohio State took its 16th shot of the game, matching the Big Red’s 16 goals. It was that type of game for the Big Red, who executed every part of the gameplan flawlessly.
Cornell will meet the winner of tomorrow’s game between No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 7 Duke on Saturday, May 25 at either noon or 3 p.m. at Philadelphia’s Franklin Financial Field.