February 23, 2011

Cornell Opens 116th Season vs. Hobart

from press release

ITHACA, N.Y. – The No. 6/5 Big Red men's lacrosse team, under the direction of first-year head coach Ben DeLuca, opens its 116th season this weekend as it takes on its oldest rival, Hobart, on Saturday, Feb. 26 at Schoellkopf Field at noon. The game is the first of a doubleheader, as the women's lacrosse team is slated to face Rutgers at 3 p.m. The Statesmen opened their season last weekend, rallying from a four-goal deficit and scoring twice in the final 2:27 of the game to defeat Robert Morris, 9-8. Matt Schultz will provide the call alongside Howie Borkan on WHCU 870 AM and on the internet as part of the RedCast subscription service.

SERIES HISTORY VS. HOBART — Cornell and Hobart will face off in college lacrosse's oldest rivalry, meeting for the 133rd time. The Big Red holds an 81-47-4 advantage in the all-time series, which began in the 1896 season. After the Big Red dropped five consecutive meetings from 1996-2000, former Cornell head coach Jeff Tambroni, a Hobart graduate, took over the Big Red and led Cornell to a 10-1 record against his alma mater ... Of Cornell's nine former head coaches, only Tambroni, Ned Harkness, Ross Smith, and Talbot Hunter have defeated Hobart in their first season. Dave Pietramala, Richie Moran, Bob Cullen and Ray Van Orman all lost to the Statesmen in their first season, while Nicholas Bawlf led the Big Red to a 2-2 tie in his first season.

LOOKING AT THE STATESMEN — Hobart returns 27 letter winners and five starters from last year's 3-11 team. The Statesmen hope that last weekend's 9-8 comeback victory over Robert Morris will reverse the trend of losing close contests, as the squad dropped six games by three goals or less last season. Despite the graduation of leading scorer Kevin Curtin, the Statesmen return junior All-ECAC player Chris Pedersen, who racked up 17 goals and a team-high 16 assists last year, and junior Sam Miller, who also scored 17 goals in 2010. While the Statesmen graduated three of its top midfielders, they do return a valuable asset in face-off man Bobby Dattilo. The junior preseason All-American returns after ranking eighth in the nation in winning percentage (.578) last year. Defensively, Hobart will feature a unit as young as the Big Red's with three sophomores and one senior in front of a new goalie, Evan Kirk. The senior co-captain will have big shoes to fill after the graduation of one of the top goalies in Hobart history, Max Silberlicht, but Kirk has great experience, as he was the back-up goalie for Team Canada at the World Championships last summer and earned quality minutes in Manchester on the way to the silver medal.

A WIN OVER HOBART WOULD –
- be the first career victory for head coach Ben DeLuca.
- be the eighth consecutive win for the Big Red over Hobart.
- make Cornell 82-47-4 all-time in the series.
- improve the men's lacrosse record to 28-5 in its last 33 non-conference games.
- be Cornell's eighth consecutive victory in a season opener.

CORNELL VS. THE ECAC – The Big Red is 87-49-4 all-time vs. the current members of the ECAC, thanks mostly to an 81-47-4 record vs. Hobart. Cornell holds a winning record vs. Air Force (1-0), Denver (1-0), Fairfield (2-0), Loyola (1-0) and Hobart (81-47-4), but a losing mark against Ohio State (1-2). The Big Red has never faced Bellarmine or Quinnipiac.

MEET THE NEW BOSS — Ben DeLuca was named the Richard M. Moran Head Coach of Cornell Lacrosse this past summer. He begins his first season as a head coach after spending 10 years as first an assistant, then an associate head coach of the Big Red program. The 10th head coach in program history, DeLuca played for, or coached under Cornell's last three coaches – Richie Moran, Dave Pietramala, and Jeff Tambroni. DeLuca earned four letters on defense for the Big Red, serving as captain his senior year and went on to be named the team's outstanding senior athlete for his leadership and dedication on and off the field.

FOR STARTERS - Cornell is 60-50-5 all-time in season openers ... The Big Red has played Hobart 14 times to start a season, posting a 7-7 record against the Statesmen in those games.

RECAPPING 2010 – The Big Red advanced to the national semifinal game for the second straight year, and third time in the last four seasons. Although Cornell fell to Notre Dame, 12-7, the Big Red made its presence felt in the lacrosse community with its incredibly young squad impressing all spectators. Cornell finished the year with a 12-6 record overall and a mark of 4-2 in the conference, earning a share of its eighth straight Ivy League title, the longest stretch since Cornell won 10-straight championships between 1974 and 1983. Cornell's eight consecutive regular season Ivy titles is the longest current stretch by any men's lacrosse team in any conference. The Big Red earned an at-large bid to the 2010 NCAA men's lacrosse tournament, garnering a seventh seed. In the first round, Cornell defeated Loyola, 11-10, in triple overtime to advance to the quarterfinals before beating Army, 14-5, to earn a trip to the Final Four.

UP NEXT – Cornell is back in action on Tuesday, March 1, when it travels to Binghamton to take on the Bearcats at the Bearcats Sports Complex at 3:30 p.m.


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