Penn State Men’s Lacrosse Preview Vs Cornell
Penn State and Cornell are set to face off for the first time since 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic ended the season.
This is the first full season for the Big Red since 2019. Since its first meeting in 1923, Cornell and Penn State have had an all-time matchup record of 22-22.
This weekend will mark the first time these two have competed at Panzer Stadium since 2017, where Penn State bested them 20-10.
This is a big rivalry for Penn State coach Jeff Tambroni, as he spent 10 seasons as the Coach at Cornell, taking it to three Final Fours along with a national championship game before his time in Happy Valley.
Tambroni had a remarkable career at Cornell leading his team to an exceptional 109-40 record, earning himself the USILA Division I coach of the year honors in 2009.
The Big Red is now led by coach Connor Buczek, who was a huge asset to their program in his career as a player where he was a three-time All-American. Buczek has been a part of the coaching staff since 2016. This season marks his first official campaign as the coach.
Penn State is going into the game looking to improve its 2-4 record and go 2-0 against Ivy League opponents on the season.
Cornell is currently 4-0, ranked No. 4 in the nation after taking down No. 5 Ohio State last week.
Both of these teams excel on the offensive side of play, and this will likely be a high-scoring affair.
The Nittany Lions offense is orchestrated by senior Jack Traynor and freshman Will Peden. Peden leads the team in assists, working in tandem with Traynor who currently leads the team in goals and points.
Right behind them completing the trio is fifth-year senior Jack Kelly who has 11 goals so far on the season.
Suiting up to protect the net for the Nittany Lions is redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Aleric Fyock. He tallies an impressive save percentage of .517 on the young season, and his goals-against average has decreased since week two to 12.87. He also has the third-highest save percentage in the Big Ten.
Fyock put up an exceptional performance in Penn State's victory against Yale, with a career-high save percentage of 78, and is looking to bring this energy back to Panzer this weekend.
While its record does not necessarily show it, Penn State has a strong defensive core led by senior Brett Funk with nine ground balls and five caused turnovers, and fifth-year senior Brayden Peck with eight ground balls and eight caused turnovers.
Junior long-stick midfielder Sutton Boland has also done an excellent job this season making his presence known on defense totaling 11 ground balls and one caused turnover.
Cornell is looking to reclaim its title of the strongest offensive unit in the Ivy League this season.
Sophomore attacker CJ Kirst has proven to be the leader in the attack. He is Cornell’s leading scorer with 13 goals in only four games, earning himself 20 points. Only four weeks into the season, he already has earned himself Ivy League Rookie of the Week twice.
Right along with him are fifth-year senior John Piatelli and junior midfielder Aidan Blake. They both trail Kirst tied with 14 points each, with 10 goals for Piatelli and nine for Blake.
Piatelli has been a big name for Cornell throughout his career, as he led them in goals in the last two full seasons the team played. Along with this, he was added to the Tewaaraton watch list coming into the 2022 season, as well as being named an Inside Lacrosse Preseason Media All-American Honorable Mention.
In net for the Big Red is senior Chayse Ierian, who has been a key player for the Cornell defense since his freshman season. He is currently ranked seventh in the nation with a .556 save percentage.
Protecting him on defense is fifth-year senior Joseph Barlotto III tallying eight ground balls and seven caused turnovers, senior Gavin Adler with six ground balls and two caused turnovers, and junior Danny Boccafola with five ground balls.
This would be a huge win for the Nittany Lions who are looking to earn their way onto the national rankings before they enter conference play.
Molly White is a second-year majoring in kinesiology. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Second Year / Kinesiology - Movement Science
Molly White is a second year student studying Kinesiology with a concentration in Movement Science at Penn State University Park. She is from South Kingstown, Rhode Island, and is looking to pursue a career in sports, currently exploring other interests in the field outside of her current major, looking to gain a more broad experience and gain more knowledge.