When the Big Red took an nine-goal lead midway through the second quarter, Cornell appeared to be headed to an easy victory in the contest between two nationally ranked teams.
But the No. 20 Elis (3-2, 1-1) battled back Saturday in front a packed Soccer-Lacrosse Stadium and nearly pulled off the incredible comeback before falling 13-11. The No. 19 Big Red (3-2, 1-0) defeated the Bulldogs by capitalizing on Yale’s defensive mistakes and inability to control the ball.
“Defensively, for the first one-and-a-half quarters, we didn’t adjust well,” captain Patrick Hein ’01 said. “You just can’t put yourself in a hole like that.”
Trailing 10-1 midway through the second quarter, head coach Mike Waldvogel replaced goalie Eric Wenzel ’03 with Adam Oppenheimer ’02 in order to spark the defense.
“The goals weren’t Eric’s fault,” Waldvogel said. “We needed to change the momentum, and Adam did a good job.”
Yale scored their second goal of the game on an extra-man situation.
Brian Hunt ’02 fired in front of the goal and ended Cornell’s streak of seven unanswered goals. The Elis regained their confidence and took advantage of Cornell’s penalties to score three more goals with the extra-man advantage.
After the half, the Bulldogs controlled the game’s tempo by winning more face-offs and picked up more ground balls.
“In the second half, we came out hard,” Hein said. “It was a better effort, and we were really playing with our backs against the wall.”
With 12:07 left in the fourth quarter, Marko Lujic ’02 fed Hunt, who dodged and scored Yale’s seventh unanswered goal, bringing the game to 10-8.
Cornell called a time out after watching its nine-goal lead diminish to two.
After the stoppage, the Cornell attack revived itself with a goal from David Key.
Twelve seconds later, Adam Werder ’01 fired a shot from 20 yards which flew past Big Red goalie Justin Cynar.
With Yale now only behind 11-9, Cornell struck back when Michael Egan slipped a shot past Oppenheimer for his third goal of the game.
Tucker Foote ’02 scored with eight minutes left in the contest to cut the lead to two, but the Elis did not get any closer.
“We missed a couple of opportunities,” head coach Mike Waldvogel said. “If we could have gotten within one, we really could have put some pressure on them.”
Hunt led the attack with two goals and four assists, and Marko Lujic ’02 chipped in with two goals and two assists.
Assistant coach Andy Towers said that he was disappointed with the loss, but pleased with the Elis’ performance in the second half.
“If there is such thing as a good loss, this was one,” Towers said. “We showed a ton of character and lost a close game.”
The Bulldogs improved their face-offs against the Big Red, a facet of play that they have been working on all season.
Foote and Ryan Capilupi ’04 combined to win 16 of 27 face-offs against Cornell’s Addison Sollog, who is considered among the best in the league.
“Their face-off man was supposed to be one of the best,” Towers said. “But Ryan Capilupi ran a clinic out there. He did a great job for us.”
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