No. 2 Cornell Grounds the Hawks to Advance

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Cornell's defense held Hartford scoreless for a span of 41:55 after Hartford took an early lead and advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals with a 12-5 win on Saturday evening at Schoellkopf Field.

The Big Red will meet the winner of tomorrow's Virginia/Bucknell game at Hofstra's James M. Shuart Stadium on Saturday, May 21. The second-seeded Big Red improved to 14-2 with the victory, while Hartford ended the most successful lacrosse season in school history at 11-7.

David Lau had four goals and an assist and Tewaaraton Trophy finalist Rob Pannell had two goals and two assists to lead the offense, but it was the Big Red's defense that took center stage. The second seed in the 2011 NCAA tournament surrendered three goals in the first 2:07 of the contest as the visitors took a 3-1 edge, then ran off nine straight scores while holding the Hawks scoreless for nearly two full quarters.

The Big Red held a decisive 44-24 edge in shots, including 32-16 over the final three quarters. Cornell also held advantages in ground balls (44-33) while forcing 22 Hartford turnovers. The Big Red defense held the Hawks to 0 for 3 on the extra man and forced six failed clears with their ride. It is Cornell's fourth quarterfinal appearance in the last five years.

Hartford, making its first NCAA tournament appearance, got a strong performance from goalkeeper Scott Bement, who made 16 saves to keep the unseeded Hawks in the contest. Carter Bender had a pair of scores and Tim Fallon won 11 of 21 face-offs.

A wild first three minutes seemingly pointed to a shootout, but the Big Red settled in and took control with their athleticism on the defensive end. Hartford scored three times in a span of 58 seconds (a span that produced four total goals), with Martin Bowes getting the visitors on the board just 1:09 into the contest. Rob Pannell tied the game just sveen seconds later to settle Cornell, but Hartford won the ensuing face-off and Fallon went the entire way for his fourth goal of the year, putting Hartford up 2-1 with the third goal in just 13 seconds. Hartford's lead extended to 301 when Carter Bender scored his 34th goal of the season at the 12:53 mark, unsettling the Big Red fans.

From there, it was all Big Red.

Cornell went on an extended 9-0 run, as Lau outscored the Hawks 4-2 the rest of the way by himself. Defender Thomas Keith cut the Cornell deficit to one with his second goal of the season with 11:11 showing on the clock, then Lau scored a man-up goal just over a minute later to knot the game at 3-3. When Roy Lang found the back of the cage on a dodge with 5:33 left in the first, Cornell took the lead for good.

It wasn't done.

The Big Red put three more goals on the board in the second while holding Hartford scoreless, then went into the final minute of the third before Aidan Genik scored on a broken play with 58 seconds left in the quarter. By then, the Cornell lead was still 10-4. In between Bender's score and Genik's goal, the Big Red's two-goal deficit had grown into a seven-goal bulge. Cornell added a pair of scores in the first seven minutes of the fourth to make it 12-4, and another broken play allowed Hartford to get its final goal with just under five minutes to play to cap the scoring.

Besides his goal, Keith chipped in four ground balls and three caused turnovers, while Max Feely also caused two turnovers and won four ground balls. Jason Noble caused one miscue and scooped up five grounders, while AJ Fiore notched six saves between the pipes, including stopping six of the final eight shots Hartford put on goal.

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2011-05-15



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