Coming off a win over Ocean State rival Providence College, the men’s lacrosse team looked to carry its momentum into a crucial Ivy League matchup against No. 10 Cornell Saturday. The game was a win-and-in situation for both teams, as both Brown (5-8, 2-3 Ivy) and Cornell (9-4, 3-2) needed a victory to clinch a berth to the Ivy League tournament in May. But the Big Red jumped out to an insurmountable lead for the Bears, as the team fell by a score of 12-9.
“We’ve had a couple close losses to some really good teams, but we’ve just got to go back to the drawing board and work harder this week in preparation for Bryant and Dartmouth,” said Carson Song ’19. “If we just work harder and keep trusting each other to make plays, we’ll be where we want to be.”
Cornell’s Jake McCulloch opened scoring just under a minute into play, but roughly 90 seconds later Ryan Aughavin ’21 tied things up off an assist by George Grell ’21. But the Big Red offense controlled the rest of the first period, netting three unanswered goals and ending the quarter with a 4-1 lead.
The Big Red continued to extend its lead in the second stanza, tallying another two goals in the first half of the quarter. Darian Cook ’22 finally got Bruno back on the board with an assist by Jackson Newsome ’19, cutting the Cornell lead to 6-2 with 4:08 remaining in the half. Cornell closed out the half with another goal, and the Bears entered halftime facing a five-goal deficit.
Cornell again got out to a quick start in the second half, as McCulloch scored another goal just under 40 seconds into play and gave the Big Red its largest lead of the game at 8-2.
But Brown’s offense finally started to build momentum in what would prove to be a high-scoring third quarter. George Pike ’22 scored for the Bears, followed by a goal from Michael Brown ’20 and another strike from Aughavin. The three-goal rally cut Bruno’s deficit to three. Cornell scored once more midway through the third, but Jack Kniffin ’20 answered with 5:15 left in the period. Entering the final quarter, the Big Red held a 9-6 edge.
A goal from Grell opened the fourth and put the Bears within two of the Big Red. Another tally from Kniffin with 8:09 left in the game cut Cornell’s lead to just one. But Cornell then thwarted Brown’s comeback with three straight goals of its own, breaking the Bears’ scoring streak and bringing the score to 12-8. Song scored the final goal of the game, but it was too late for Bruno, and the team fell 12-9 and dropped to 2-3 in Ivy League play this season.
Phil Goss ’20 anchored the Bears’ defense, making 10 saves on the afternoon, and helped bring the team back at various points in the contest.
“As expected, another hard fought league opponent,” said Head Coach Mike Daly in a statement to Brown Athletics. “I’m proud of our team and their fight.”
“One thing I love about this team is that we just never give up,” Song said. “We always believe that we’re in it and make a bunch of little plays to scratch, claw and kick our way back to a closer game.”
The game was also the last home matchup of the season for the Bears, who celebrated Senior Day, and the nine members of the class of 2019 — Luke Chmiel, Foster LeBoeuf, Newsome, Acie Newton, Mike Panepinto, Brian Prigmore, Will Richardson, Alex Santangelo and Song — were honored with their families after the game.
“I can’t say enough about how lucky I am, how fortunate I’ve been to be a part of Brown lacrosse, to play for the coaching staff that I have (and) to play alongside my fellow seniors,” Song said. “Being a part of this team and learning the humility and the work ethic that we need to succeed on and off the field has been something special.”
In the final week of the regular season, Brown will head out on the road to face Bryant University Tuesday and Dartmouth Saturday. Good play this week coupled with a bit of luck will allow the team to extend their season to May. In order to make their fourth-straight Ivy League tournament, the Bears will need to win their game against Dartmouth and hope that Cornell beats Princeton Saturday.
“It is certainly not how we wanted to end our (careers) on (Stevenson-Pincince Field), but we seniors will cherish the four unforgettable years we’ve spent together playing our favorite sport,” Santangelo wrote in a statement to The Herald. “Thankfully, when we take care of business Tuesday and Saturday, we will be able to continue playing in the postseason and show everyone that our class isn’t finished just yet.”