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ITHACA, N.Y. – Dan Lintner and John Hogan scored a pair of goals 35 seconds apart in the final moments of the fourth quarter to erase a one-goal deficit and lift the No. 16 Cornell men’s lacrosse team to a 12-8 win over Hobart in its season-opener today on Schoellkopf Field. Despite the late game heroics by the offense, it was senior face-off manDoug Tesoriero that was instrumental in the victory, winning 20-of-24 restarts, including the final seven of the contest to help the Big Red complete the comeback.
“This was a special game for me to go against Hobart, where I spent so many years as a player and as a coach,” said interim head coach Matt Kerwick. “But the game wasn’t about me. I was just focused on how I could help the 36 guys in that locker room to play as well as they could and get the win here on Schoellkopf Field.”
In addition to his domination in the face-off circle, Tesoriero also picked up a game-high 14 ground balls and handed out a pair of assists.
“Doug is key for us right now,” added Kerwick. “We have so many new faces on offense that possessions are incredibly important and that was as good of a performance as I’ve seen from a face-off man in many years.”
Leading the offense was senior attackman Matt Donovan, who matched a career-high with six points on three goals and three assists, while Lintner tallied a career-high four goals. Hogan and Connor Buczek finished with two goals apiece and long stick midfieilder Connor Hunt scored once.
Hobart (0-2) was led by the outstanding play of senior goalie Peter Zonino, who finished one off his career-high with 18 saves, including some spectacular ones early on to keep the game close. The Statesmen were led on offense by Jake McHenry’s three goals, while All-American Alex Love finished with two goals and one assist.
Cornell held the significant edge in shots (45-24) and ground balls (37-17), with Tesoriero coming just three ground balls shy of matching the entire Hobart team. The Big Red was nearly perfect on the clear (17-of-18), while Hobart cleared just 19-of-23. Cornell also managed to convert 2-of-3 man-up chances while the defense held the Statesmen to an 0-for-5 performance.
The game was a close one throughout, with neither team going up by more than two goals until Cornell scored five consecutive in the final 2:36 of the contest to account for the 12-8 final. The run began when Cornell won the ball after a failure-to-advance call on the Statesmen. Donovan held the ball behind the cage and hit Lintner as he crashed the crease and one-timed it into the goal to knot the game at 8-8 with 2:36 to play. Hogan then recorded the game-winner when he used a fake flip pass to a teammate to cause some confusion among the defense, got topside and ripped a shot from 15-yards out to make it 9-8 with just over two minutes to go. Just 13 seconds later, Cornell got an insurance goal when Tesoriero won the ensuing face-off, streaked upfield and set up a Donovan goal. The Big Red tacked on two goals in the final 19 seconds from Donovan and Lintner to close the contest.
The Big Red also scored the first two tallies of the contest, both unassisted goals form Buczek, before Cooper Sefaniak and Love knotted the game at 2-2 early in the second quarter. McHenry then gave Hobart its first lead of the game but Cornell answered almost immediately when Hunt picked up a loose ball off an initial Zonino save and blasted it into the back of the net to make it 3-3.
Consecutive goals from Lintner restored the two-goal advantage to Cornell, but three straight from the Statesmen, including back-to-back tallies from Reed, put the Big Red down by one heading into the fourth quarter.
Hogan tied the game again at 7-7 with 8:17 to play, but just over two minutes later Love returned the lead to the visitors with Hobart’s final goal of the game.