College Park, MD (WBNG BINGHAMTON) The No. 13 Cornell men’s lacrosse team stormed out to a 5-1 halftime lead but saw sixth-seed Maryland come back before Mike Chanenchuk buried a shot with two seconds remaining in the contest to hand the Terps an 8-7 victory this evening in Byrd Stadium. The goal just beat out a shot clock violation as the officials put started the clock with :32 to play.
The Big Red ends its 2014 season with an 11-5 record overall.
Everything went right for the visitors in the first half, but UMD turned the tables in the second half by winning the face-off battle and the time of possession to outscore Cornell 7-2 over the final 30 minutes.
“We knew it would be a hard fought game right to the bitter end,” said interim head coach Matt Kerwick. “I thought we were still playing hard and going to the cage in the second half but we didn’t have the ball as much. They are a patient offensive group and we had some uncharacteristic turnovers that really hurt us down the stretch.”
Cornell was led by Matt Donovan’s three goals and one assist, while John Hogan finished with one goal and one assist. Mike O’Neil, Dan Lintner and Connor Buczek each scored once, while John Edmonds handed out one helper.
In goal, freshman Christian Knight was outstanding with 13 saves, including 11 through the first three quarters, and he also caused one turnover and picked up two ground balls.
Chanenchuk finished with two goals and two assists to lead the Terps, while freshmen Matt Rambo and Connor Cannizzaro tallied three and two goals, respectively.
Maryland goalie Niko Amato stopped eight shots in the win.
UMD held the edge in shots (42-25), ground balls (27-20) and face-offs (11-of-17), but nearly all those advantages were gained in a second half when the Terps won 8-of-10 restarts.
"Lacrosse is a game of runs,” said Donovan. “We went through a lot this year as a team. I’m proud and honored to be a part of Cornell lacrosse. I grew up a lot this year and there isn’t a better place to grow up than in the Cornell lacrosse family.”
Neither team scored a man-up goal in the first half, but all three extra-man chances resulted in tallies in the second half, with the Terps finishing the day at 2-of-5, while Cornell went 1-of-2.
“We had too many penalties and a couple mental errors that really hurt us,” said senior defender Tom Freshour. “They stole the momentum. As a senior it’s tough to see that this is how it ends.”
Buczek got the Big Red on the board just 41 seconds into the game and Knight came up with an impressive save on the Terps’ first possession. The rookie netminder came up with several more saves and picked off a pass on a UMD man-up chance to keep Cornell in the game early on. Defense then turned to offense as O'Neil and freshman Marshall Peters teamed-up to detwig Chanenchuk. O'Neil picked up the ground ball and went to the cage for his second goal of the season.
Maryland earned a one-minute unreleasable penalty to close the first quarter, but once again the Cornell defense came up big, ending the threat and taking the 2-0 lead into the first break.
Just under five minutes into the second quarter, Donovan pushed Cornell’s lead to four with back-to-back goals.
Chanenchuk ended a 23:59 scoring drought when he scored to make it a 4-1 game at the 6:01 mark of the second quarter. The 23:59 is the longest scoreless stretch by a Cornell opponent this season, eclipsing the 22:40 drought by Hobart in the first game of the season.
Donovan scored his final goal of the contest with 12 seconds left in the second quarter to give the Big Red the 5-1 halftime advantage.
Maryland opened the third quarter with three unanswered goals before Hogan ended the drought with a man-up tally off a pass from Edmonds to push Cornell’s lead back to 6-4 with7:13 to go in the period. The teams traded possessions the rest of the way but neither could manage to find the back of the net.
Rambo scored early in the fourth quarter but just over one minute later Lintner answered with a goal off a fantastic feed from Donovan to make it 7-5 at the 10:17 mark.
The Terps scored the final three of the contest, including the game-winner with just two ticks left on the clock, to account for the 8-7 final.
(Courtesy: Cornell University)