Cornell should walk off the field with their heads held high. They had a great season and Jeff Tambroni is obviously a good coach. But they really blew their chance. And it was some coaching mistakes that are probably most to blame.
Late game coaching mistakes
- With roughly 8 minutes left in the game Cornell was trying to kill time when they were on man-up offense. There was then a 2nd penalty and they were still content to hold the ball. Cornell was only up 1 goal at that point. With a man advantage and 8 minutes left, they should be trying to score, regardless of the size of the lead. They never even attempted a shot on the 1st man advantage. Another goal sure would have helped.
- Not getting a shot off when there is a delayed flag. This is one of the most common mistakes in lacrosse these days - at any level. Where there is a flag down and play-on situation, it’s a free shot. Almost any shot is a good shot. If you start paying attention you’ll notice how infrequently teams get off shots when there is a play-on penalty. Cornell missed two free shot opportunities. The players should be coach to recognize these situations and shoot the ball!
- Cornell was up 1 goal with about 1:30 left in the game. They had the ball in Syracuse’s box and just needed to run out the clock. Cornell’s Roy Lang (who Quint Kessenich refered to as awkward) had the ball covered by Abbott. It was clear Abbott was working to take the ball away and that Lang was in trouble. Cornell should have take the timeout. Even if it meant Syracuse put a pole on the ball don’t you like any matchup with Seibald, Glynn, or any attackman better?
- With roughly 25 seconds left in the game Cornell was given possession behind their goal to clear the ball. They weren’t setup, they pushed the ball up field using a defenseman to try and dodge. Cornell should have taken a timeout and setup a clear. Or even brought Seibald down to run the ball. This was the most obvious mistake at the end of the game.
- [EDIT] - The commenter made a good point which was meant to be on this list. When you get the ball in OT you call a timeout if you don’t have the best matchup on the field. No reason to save the TO in OT.
Yes hindsight is 20/20, and being the head coach of a college lacrosse team playing on Memorial day is a monumental task. But making a different coaching decision on any of those three key 4th quarter situations likely wins the game for them.