New Coach, New Team, New Season At Cornell Lacrosse

By WBNG News

February 1, 2011 Updated Feb 1, 2011 at 7:39 PM EDT

Ithaca, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Cornell men's lacrosse team's quest to return to the NCAA Final Four begins today.

And there's a few changes for the Big Red.

In this week's Mirabito Action Sports Spotlight, we look at a team with a new coach and focus on taking it one game at a time.

Most of the faces on the field remain the same.

On the sideline, it's a different story for the Cornell men's lacrosse team.

Former assistant Ben DeLuca is now the man in charge after former coach Jeff Tambroni left for Penn State.

"This is a new team, a new combination of players, it's a new combination of coaches and one of the things we really preach to the guys is keep your nose to the grindstone, work your tail off on a day to day basis and when that final horn blows, we'll find out where we are,"
says first year coach Ben DeLuca.

Cornell lost 3 big players from last year when it went all the way to the NCAA final four, where it lost to Notre Dame.

But it returns goalie AJ Fiore, All American Defenseman Max Feely an National Attackman of the Year Rob Pannell.

"I think our defense is the strongest part of our team right now. We return, we graduated Austin Boykin that was a great short stick mid-fielder who took faceoffs for us but there's guys that are coming in right now and stepping up and the defensive end is really the backbone of our team I think," says Pannell.

To make it back to the NCAA tournament, the team will have to navigate a tough schedule.

8 of it's 13 games are on the road.

Including trips to Virginia and Syracuse.

"The freshman have all grown up a little. They've had 7, 8 road trips under their belt so as a team, I feel like we know how to travel and we know what it takes to win on the road and not just be comfortable at Schoellkopf Field," says Feely.

The Big Red aren't looking too far down the road.

The first challenge will be February 5th, when the team takes the field for the first time in a scrimmage against Colgate.

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