Cornell senior Steve Mock is naturally right-handed. That makes his seven goals in a 16-6 victory over No. 3 Ohio State in an NCAA men’s lacrosse quarterfinal Saturday at Byrd Stadium even more impressive.
Of his seven goals, five were left-handed and two right-handed. All came in the first half; the final came with 2 minutes 4 seconds left and gave unseeded Cornell an 11-3 lead.
Mock tied a school record for goals in an NCAA tournament game; he scored them in 27:24.
Cornell is “averaging 15 goals a game for a reason,” Ohio State Coach Nick Myer said. “They’ve got guys who can put the ball in the back of the net.”
In the second game, No. 1 Syracuse scored three goals in the final 3:04 to defeat unseeded Yale, 7-6. Redshirt freshman Dylan Donahue scored the winner with 13 seconds left.
Mock was one of several standouts for Cornell (14-3). Senior Rob Pannell, the all-time leading scorer in the Ivy League, finished with two goals and six assists. Junior Doug Tesoriero won 16 of 24 faceoffs. And senior Jason Noble was assigned to mark senior Logan Schuss, the scoring leader for the Buckeyes (13-4). Schuss finished with one goal and two assists but didn’t take his first shot until 6:35 remained in the first half. By then, his team trailed 8-2.
The Buckeyes alternated between zone defense and man-to-man. But the Big Red got into a rhythm thanks to Tesoriero’s work on faceoffs. In the first half, five of Cornell’s 11 goals came against the zone, five against man-to-man and one on a fast break.
“When you score a goal and get the ball right back [on a faceoff win], it allows the offense to play with a lot of confidence,” Mock said. “The more the ball is in our sticks the more loose we play.”
Cornell is in the Final Four for the first time since 2010 and is looking for its first national title since 1977. Mock was a freshman starter the last time Cornell went; Pannell, a fifth-year senior, was a starter on the 2009 team that lost in the national title game to Syracuse in overtime, 10-9.
“We told the guys this week if we can get to the Final Four, it’ll be a lacrosse experience they’ll never forget,” Mock said.
In the second quarterfinal, the game was tied with 1:20 to play when Yale sophomore Conrad Oberbeck had a one-on-one with sophomore goalie Dominic Lamolinara from five yards. Oberbeck, a lefty, had scored 36 goals this year and had the ball in his favored hand. Yet Lamolinara made the save and controlled the rebound.
Following a timeout, Donahue sneaked behind the defense and was wide open for several seconds. Senior JoJo Marasco, who holds the program’s season record for assists by a midfielder, eventually found Donahue for a goal on a point-blank shot.
Junior Brandon Mangan scored three goals for Yale, and Marasco assisted on the tying and winning goals for the Orange.
“We’ve played nine one-goal games,” Orange Coach John Desko said. “Unfortunately, our guys are used to it.”