(Inside Lacrosse Photo: Dan Aburn)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The first quarter between No. 1 Towson and No. 2 Cornell went perfectly to script for the Tigers.
Towson dominated on face-offs, scored in transition and got production from their reliable scorers, taking a 5-3 lead after the first frame.
But the Big Red struck back in the second quarter, putting together a nine-goal run from the end of the first through the second, an avalanche of momentum that ultimately carried Cornell (4-1) to an 18-11 victory over Towson (5-1) Sunday at the Crown Lacrosse Classic in Charlotte, N.C.
Towson dominated on face-offs, with No. 1 overall MLL draft pick Alex Woodall winning 22-of-26 draws throughout the game.
Cornell found their possessions elsewhere. The Big Red ride was particularly feisty, forcing Towson into seven failed clears. The Tigers finished with 23 turnovers, 14 of which were caused by Cornell. Freshmen goalie Chayse Ierlan got the start and finished with 10 saves.
“I think the point of focus has been to find a way to even out our possession problem, because we really haven’t had even close to as many possessions as our opponent the last few games,” Cornell coach Peter Milliman said.
“And we know we have a pretty good offense if we get it to them, and we just need to find a way to get the ball down there. We were struggling to do it on the draw, so we just figured whatever we could do to build enough possession throughout the game. We had to put in a little more aggressive ride, had to change up our face-off plan. Just really convince guys that if you sell out for groundballs for us, then we have a chance of getting the ball to our offense and scoring goals… Today, we got the ball on offense as much as we’ve had in a long time.”
After Clarke Petterson scored his second goal of the game for Cornell with 1:02 remaining in the first quarter, The Big Red offense came alive in the second, capitalizing on turnovers and outscoring Towson 9-1 in that period to carry a 12-6 lead into the half. Petterson’s ability to be in the right place at the right time was masterful, and he finished with eight goals.
“He’s our guy,” Milliman said of Petterson. “He’s the leader. He’s the beating heart. He is on the field doing everything he can for our team. I didn’t even notice half of them because he finds a way to make them kind of subtle. He’s all around the net, his nose is on it. He just finds the ball and buries it.”
Jeff Teat dished three of his four assists to Petterson, while fellow attackman John Piatelli finished with four goals and two assists. Jonathan Donville had a hat trick while Jake McCulloch scored two goals.
Luke Fromert led the offensive efforts for the Tigers with two goals and two assists. Leading scorer Brendan Sunday scored two goals and an assist. Longpole Koby Smith had two goals in transition while Grant Maloof, Timmy Monahan, Andrew O’Dare and Tim Montgomery all scored once. Brody McLean did not register a point and Towson converted on three of their 11 man-up opportunities.
“We toughened up a little bit better on defense, which we needed to,” Milliman said. “We gave up too many transitions and things we didn’t need to. We lived on man down.”
After falling to Penn State on Friday night, the victory was a bounce back for Cornell on a short turnaround.
“Yesterday was an abbreviated version of what you would do to prep for a game,” said Milliman on Saturday’s preparation. “We had a short practice where we went through some stuff, we watched film and wrote a scout. But yeah, there’s not much. Most of it for us is going to be the mental prep.”