In a must-win game to keep its postseason hopes alive, the men's lacrosse team came up short at home in muddy conditions Saturday. The Bears (5-8, 1-4 Ivy) could not keep pace with No. 3 Cornell (10-2, 5-0), who clinched the outright league title with the 18-5 win.
The loss eliminated Brown from contention for the fourth and final spot in the Ivy League playoffs.
"We're disappointed," said tri-captain defenseman Peter Fallon '11. "They're an extremely good team, but we always play them pretty tight. Especially on Senior Day — we came out really excited. We were all ready to go and felt really well-prepared, and they just made more plays than we did."
The Big Red jumped out on top early, scoring the first three goals of the game. Brown had its first breakthrough with just under five minutes left in the first quarter when tri-captain Andrew Feinberg '11 found the back of the net to cut the lead to 3-1. But the Bears could not build off the score, and a pair of Big Red goals before the quarter's final whistle gave Cornell a 5-1 lead.
Brown got one back quickly at the start of the second quarter when attacker Rob Schlesinger '12 beat Cornell goalie A.J. Fiore. But from that point on, Cornell ran away with the game.
After Schlesinger's goal, the Big Red showed why it is ranked third in the nation, scoring seven consecutive goals to put the game out of reach. Three goals in the second quarter extended the lead to 8-2 at intermission. After the break, the Big Red resumed right where they left off, building a 10-goal cushion before Schlesinger's second goal of the day broke Brown's nearly 30-minute scoring drought.
But the Big Red did not relent. After scoring 10 goals in the second half, Cornell finished with a whopping 18 on the day, the most goals the Bears have allowed all season.
Bruno's two late consolation goals came from Jeffrey Foote '11 and George Sherman '13.
The Cornell onslaught was spearheaded by All-American Rob Pannell, who Fallon said the team regards as "one of the best players in the country, if not the best." Pannell had two goals and five assists, while teammates Steve Mock and Roy Lang each had hat tricks.
The Big Red clinched a share of the Ivy League title for the ninth consecutive season and will host the postseason tournament. The squad appears to be on track for a postseason run in the NCAA championships, having already beaten every Ivy League team they have faced this season and taken down then-No. 1 Syracuse.
"They're extremely smart players — they're tough players," Fallon said. "At the end of the game, they may not have the superstars … but everyone on that team does the little things right, and that's what wins games."
The disappointing result on Senior Day was not indicative of what the class of 2011 has accomplished in its four years on the lacrosse field. The 11 seniors have twice won the Ivy League championship — in 2008 and 2010 — and in 2009, earned a birth in the NCAA Playoffs.
"It was emotional for us," Fallon said of playing his last home game in a Brown uniform. "It's disappointing to not have done as well as we'd like on Senior Day, but at the end of the day, I'm so proud to play for this team, play for these guys and play for the program. I wouldn't trade it for anything."
The class boasts a number of impressive individual accomplishments, as well.
Feinberg has tallied 121 career goals in his four years, fifth all-time at Brown and seventh among all active Division I players.
Fallon, who is an All-American and two-time All-Ivy selection, is currently on the watch list for the Tewaaraton Award — college lacrosse's Heisman trophy — and the Lowe's Senior CLASS award, which recognizes athletic, academic and community-related achievements.
Goalie Matt Chriss '11 entered Saturday's game ranked fourth nationally in both save percentage and saves per game, and David Hawley '11 was drafted this winter in the seventh round by the Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse, the country's top professional league.
These seniors have the opportunity to end their Brown careers on the right note next week when they travel to Hanover, N.H., to take on Dartmouth (5-8, 1-4). The Big Green is still in the running for the final place in the conference playoffs. Though the Bears no longer have a shot at postseason play, they can still spoil Dartmouth's chances.