Cornell finds itself at 10-1 and ranked No. 2 in the nation, but in this year's lacrosse landscape, nobody is safe.
Tonight, Cornell will put its reputation on the line as they travel to the Carrier Dome to face a tough Syracuse team. Syracuse is coming off of a thrilling 13-12 victory over the Princeton Tigers, and is looking to climb even higher in the national polls as we head down the home stretch of the regular season.
Cornell is undoubtedly one of the most talented teams in the nation, featuring an offense that can put up points in a hurry.
Led by All-American Rob Pannell and senior attacker Steve Mock, Cornell has been able to outscore opponents even when their defense does not play up to par. Pannell already has 59 points on the year, and should surpass the 60 point mark tonight with two games still on the schedule. He has shown balance in his skills, recording 26 goals and adding 33 assists. Many of those assists have gone to Mock, who has 37 goals on the year so far.
The Big Red have blown some teams out this year, but needed to rally to beat Yale and Harvard within league play. This shows that Cornell is vulnerable, but also proves that they can close out tight games in the fourth quarter.
Syracuse enters the game ranked No. 7 in the country after the Princeton win. Their face-off man, junior Chris Daddio, has played exceptionally well recently, adding consistency to a part of the Orange's game that was lacking early in the year. Daddio's success will once again be paramount tonight, as Syracuse looks to dictate the pace of play and keep the ball away from Pannell and the Big Red offense.
Jojo Marasco scored the game winner against Princeton late in the game for 'Cuse, proving his worth as one of the most clutch senior midfielders in the game. He has 30 points on the year, while Kevin Rice is second on the team with 25 points.
Henry Schoonmaker had a huge game for Syracuse last weekend, so look for Head Coach John Desko to get the ball in his stick early in the game. If the Orange can get players like Schoonmaker playing at a high level consistently, they will be lethal come tournament time.
With a loss to Villanova a few weeks back, the Orange find themselves behind the eight-ball in the Big East. Tonight's game provides an opportunity for another key victory if Syracuse must rely on an at-large bid down the road.
Look for Syracuse to show up in a big way tonight, I think they are on a roll that even Cornell may have trouble stopping.
Prediction: Syracuse pulls out the upset in the dome, Orange win 10-9.