2018 Record: 13-5
GPG (Rank): 13.56 (5)
GAA (Rank): 9.22 (18)
Cornell is coming off a season in which it won the Ivy League Tournament, reached the NCAA Quarterfinals and led the nation in shooting percentage (38.9%). Of the eight players who reached double figures in goals, seven are back. The offense is a move-the-ball, share-the-ball scheme that relies on passing more than dodging.
“We spend a lot of time focusing on getting the ball to good spots,” said coach Peter Milliman. “I don’t necessarily think we have the best shooters in country. But we’re patient and we try not to take bad shots.”
The Big Red
Storyline: What is the ceiling for this Big Red squad?
Yale winning the NCAA title last year may have galvanized this Big Red squad in a way that other results have not. Teams in the Ivy League despise one another just as much as teams in the ACC or the Big Ten; it’s a constant and consistent rivalry. This year’s Cornell squad has a lot of returning, established and young talent, and expectations are most assuredly high going into 2019. Newly minted permanent Milliman will likely do his best to temper expectations with Yale and Princeton hunting for the same trophy, but — with respect to the Tigers’ Michael Sowers — the most talented all-around offensive player in the league wears Red and White and his name is Jeff Teat.
Star Power: Jeff Teat, A, So.
What can be said about Jeff Teat (37G, 62A, 30GB) that hasn’t already been shouted from the mountaintops by fans of offensive magicians? Cornell may run a pass-heavy system on offense, but that system’s engine is Teat, who is not just a dodger, but also a feeder, a cutter and a scorer. He does not stop moving off ball and occupies at least one defenseman — increasingly more than one — for an entire game. Teat dictates the tempo of the Cornell offense with a Dickensian mastery even when he doesn’t have the ball. Pat Spencer is generally regarded as the best DI player in the nation, but Teat plays a completely different style that is rooted in boxla toughness. Teat doesn’t have the physical advantages that Spencer has, but he makes up for it with an ingenuity that goes beyond just reading the game; he’s writing the result as he plays.
Impact Arrivals: Defense
There are 14 freshmen on Cornell’s 2019 roster, which is sort of like a championship NBA team going into their title defense with a CBA franchise and two first-round picks. The two freshmen that look to be the most likely to make an impact this spring hail from the defensive end of the field in Max Fields (Belmont Hill, Mass.) and Gavin Adler (Hewlett, N.Y.). However, if you look a little deeper, the return of a player who missed all of 2018 may be even more impactful. Junior Ryan Maloney is healthy after he missed last year with an injury. The 6-2 200-pound attackman graduated from Victor (N.Y.) as the all-time points leader and could be Cornell’s secret weapon in 2019.
A visit to Ivy League for and defending national champion Yale is on tap for March 16, but most Big Red fans will be salivating over bookended home tilts against Albany (March 2) and Princeton (April 27). However, the early favorite for game of the year may come on the road at the Crown Lacrosse Classic in Charlotte, N.C., where they will take on two teams with early success: Penn State and Towson.