Ithaca, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Following a run to the NCAA Final Four, the Cornell men's lacrosse team faced a tumultuous offseason. The team was involved in a hazing incident, and as a punishment the school canceled the Big Red's fall scrimmages.
A few months later head coach Ben DeLuca was fired by the university, despite taking the team to two NCAA tournaments in three seasons.
Earlier this week the team returned to the lacrosse field, now under interim head coach Matt Kerwick. On Tuesday, the team spoke about how surprised they were to hear of DeLuca's firing.
"It was a shock to everybody. No one saw it coming really," said Dan Lintner, a senior captain. "There's a lot of questions and whatnot, but you know,at the end of the day, we just got to focus on our team right now and the 34 guys you got going and the four coaches upstairs, five coaches. You know, we came together as a team and I'm really proud of our team for that."
"I don't think anyone really saw it, at the same time we can't dwell on it," said Matt Donovan, a junior captain. "We got to move forward, I know Coach 'D', that's what he would want, and that's what we're trying to do."
While it was surprising, Coach Kerwick said it was also a lesson that lacrosse can be taken away.
"We learned a lot this fall you know, it started with a tough situation and we learned a great deal from that as a program and the guys have done a really good job in terms of responding," said Kerwick. "We want to be one of the leaders on this campus in terms of, you know, dealing with situations like that, with hazing. We've learned a lot as a team."
After not having any fall scrimmages, Cornell is excited for the chance to return to the field against another school. That comes on Sunday when the Big Red hosts the Iroquois Nationals in a scrimmage.
Cornell opens the regular season with upstate New York rival Hobart on February 22nd.