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2019 Men’s College Lacrosse Year In Review: #26 Cornell Big Red

The Big Red were right on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament, but came up just short.

Patrick Shanahan/Cornell Athletics

With the 2019 college lacrosse season complete, it’s time to look back at how all 73 teams did during the season, along with an early look at each squad for 2020.

Note: These are not end of season rankings.

Here’s our last five Year In Review posts we’ve done:

To see all of our posts, check out the 2019 Year In Review section on the site.

Let’s continue our 2019 Year In Review!

#26 Cornell Big Red

Conference: Ivy League
2019 Record: 10-5 (4-2 in Ivy League)
Postseason: Lost to Yale in Ivy League semifinals
Head coach: Peter Milliman (2nd Season)

Statistical Leaders

Goals: John Piatelli (45)
Assists: Jeff Teat (36)
Points: Jeff Teat (70)
Faceoffs: Paul Rasimowicz (102-of-243; 42%)
Ground balls: Brandon Salvatore (74)
Caused turnovers: Brandon Salvatore (32)
Goals against average: Chayse Ierlan (11.83 GAA)
Save percentage: Chayse Ierlan (53.7%)

Personnel Losses

Key seniors departing: A Clarke Petterson (44 Gs, 18 As, 26 GBs, 7 CTs), M Jake McCulloch (19 Gs, 9 As, 9 GBs, 1 CT), D Fleet Wallace (21 CTs, 39 GBs), SSDM/LSM Kason Tarbell (6 CTs, 22 GBs, 3 Gs, 2 As), M Zach Ward (11 Gs, 3 As, 1 GB, 1 CT), SSDM Ryan Bray (7 CTs, 19 GBs, 2 As), A Colton Rupp (6 Gs, 1 A, 7 GBs)
Senior scoring departing: 120 of 348 points (34.5%)
Senior starts lost: 45 of 150 (30%)

Season Summary

There were plenty of expectations for Cornell to return to the NCAA Tournament after reaching the quarterfinals last season as an unseeded team. But the Big Red still had to compete with defending national champion Yale within the conference.

Cornell’s season began with junior Caelahn Bullen assuming the starting spot in goal with Christian Knight graduated. The season opener against Hobart was a high-scoring affair with the Big Red winning 19-16. But Bullen lasted just under 40 minutes and gave up 12 goals with six saves. In came freshman Chayse Ierlan, the younger brother of TD Ierlan, who made five saves on four goals against. It was a solid outing for the freshman. But struggles continued for the entire team against Cornell, as they trailed Lehigh 9-7. But the Big Red offense went off in the fourth quarter with seven goals. The following week against Albany, Cornell gave up a five-goal lead late in the fourth quarter only to have Connor Fletcher scored the game-winner with 14 seconds left in the game.

Despite their close wins, Cornell was ranked 2nd in the country entering The Crown Lacrosse Classic. They had to play two other top four teams in three days, the first coming against fourth ranked Penn State. It did not start well as the team gave up nine goals in the opening quarter with Bullen getting pulled after giving up six goals in the first 10:34 of the game. Ierlan made 11 saves but save up 13 more goals in a 19-13 loss. Ierlan got the nod in goal for the Towson game which saw Cornell down 5-3 after the first quarter. But then it was their turn to score nine goals in a quarter in an 18-11 win over the top-ranked team in the country.

Ivy League play began with a five-goal loss to defending national champion Yale in New Haven in a battle of the Ierlan brothers. After a big win over first-year team St. Bonaventure, the Big Red had a three-goal lead in the final quarter against Penn. But the Quakers went on a 4-0 run to take a one-goal lead before both teams alternated goals and entered a 15-15 tie late in regulation. With 17 seconds left, Adam Goldner scored the game-winning goal past Ierlan, who had 15 saves in the loss. The Big Red were already 0-2 in conference play against the two best teams in the conference.

They rebounded with wins over Dartmouth and Harvard but were still on the bubble as an at-large team despite having all their losses against ranked teams. Up next were two ACC opponents, the first against nearby rival Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. Needing a win, the Big Red struggled at the faceoff X and committed nine turnovers in the first half despite 17 total saves from Ierlan in a 13-8 loss. A few days later in South Bend against Notre Dame, Cornell bounced back in a big way with a 5-0 run in the second half en route to a 11-9 win over the Fighting Irish.

A close win over Brown and a comeback victory against Princeton ended the regular season, but had to face Yale again in the Ivy League semifinals. Similar to their matchup back in mid-March, the Bulldogs won by five goals. But this time, this ended Cornell’s season as they missed out on the NCAA Tournament.

For a third straight season, Jeff Teat led the way in assists and points despite both totals being lower than his superb sophomore season. Clarke Petterson was alongside for the third straight year and were joined by freshman John Piatelli, who led the Big Red with 45. That trio were the first since 1976 to each record at least 60 points when Mike French, Eamon McEneaney, and Jon Levine did it. Colton Rupp also saw time and recorded six goals and an assist. After starring on the second midfield as a freshman, Jonathan Donville was promoted to the top line and recorded 20 goals and 14 assists, the most amongst midfielders. Jake McCulloch and Connor Fletcher were all on the first midfield for every game except one. Cooper Telesco, Zach Ward, and Matt Licciardi were on the second midfield.

Senior Fleet Wallace and sophomore Dom Doria returned to the close defense unit for another season. After Patrick Karey and Max Fields started three games each during the early portion of the season, Brandon Salvatore became the full-time starter for the remaining nine games after playing LSM. Joseph Bartolotto III was a long pole, and so was Kason Tarbell, who spent most of his career and including the early part of the season as a short stick defender. Ryan Bray, Harrison Bardwell, Griffin Buczek, and Sam Duggan were the other SSDMs. Cornell saw four players take at least 50 draws, led by Paul Rasimowicz’s 243 draws. Luca Tria (43.2% faceoff percentage), Tim Graham (34.4%), and Salvatore (20%) also took draws, but neither of them reached over 45%.

Looking Ahead

Cornell will have to replace a starter at attack, midfield, and close defense. The biggest could be Petterson and his 44 goals, a beneficiary of Teat’s elite passing. One potential replacement was Ryan Maloney, but he suffered a severe spinal cord injury earlier in the summer. You can support his road to recovery via his CaringBridge page. Billy Coyle and Henry Follows are returning options at attack. JJ Lombardi could be someone that could see his role increase at midfield.

The defense should not be a big question with Karey and Fields viable options. One of them could potentially also see time as a long stick midfielder, but so could Theodore Batson. Ierlan is one of the top returning goaltenders in the nation, while the faceoff question is still a big question. Cornell looks to find someone to elevate that position and at least get over 50%.


How many wins will Cornell get in 2020?

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