Cornell vs. Virginia Notes and Quotes
May 23, 2009
Division I Semifinal - Virginia vs. Cornell Notes
Division I Semifinal - Cornell Coach Quotes
Head Coach Jeff Tambroni
We are thrilled and proud of the effort of our guys today. They really dug in during a game where we knew we wouldn't have a lot of believers out there. We knew we needed to believe first and play hard second. We were fortunate enough to accomplish both of those against such a talented and dangerous Virginia team. We're excited we can move on into uncharted territory for the modern day Cornell program. I hope we can prepare ourselves for that next juggernaut in Syracuse.
On the importance of strong play in the first quarter:
We knew we needed to get off to a strong start against Virginia. We talked a lot about believing with our guys. We heard a lot from the media about how we weren't supposed to win this game and I think by starting strong early our players could believe in themselves and play at such a high level. After our first few shots went in, I thought we settled in and I felt that after the first 15 minutes were behind us, our guys had a positive look in their eyes. We carried the momentum from the first stanza into the next 45 minutes.
On preparation for Monday's championship game:
I've never made it through the semifinals before as a player or coach. We'll rely on our seniors on to get on our guys the next few days. We told the players in the locker room that we need to settle in fairly quickly. I thought the focus for this game was right on point. We asked our guys to remain focused and to enjoy it for a little while when they see their families, but when we get back on the bus and get back to the hotel, I'm hoping that our staff and our team will get right back on board and prepare for Syracuse. We know how good Syracuse is based on its performance this afternoon.
Division I Semifinal - Cornell Athlete Quotes
Senior Midfielder Max Seibald
On whether Saturday's win was an upset
"We came into this game expecting to win from the get-go. Since that last time we played them at Virginia early on in the season, we came out in the first half of that game and played well. We came out kind of slow the second half. I think everyone on our team wanted another crack at them right after that game. We've been looking forward to another opportunity to compete against UVA since that day."
On Cornell's ability to respond after Virginia goals
"I think our team did a great job at staying not too high or not too low and just staying even-keeled throughout the entire game. When Virginia came down and struck quick and scored, we did a good job at the faceoff X at maintaining possession of the ball or getting in the hole and preventing them from scoring another quick one. That was part of our game plan, just to slow them down."
Freshman attack Rob Pannell
On being able to play so well as a freshman
"The teammates I have around me allow me to do the job that I do behind the cage. Knowing you have guys like Max Seibald, Johnny Glynn and Rocco Romero at the midfield and Chris Finn and Ryan Hurley at the attack, they draw a lot of attention as well. When things aren't going well for me, they can handle the ball, handle the pressure as well. Coming into this game, I just took it like any other game"
On the Cornell defense
"Our best defense is our offense, and our best offense is our defense. It's comforting standing at the midfield line knowing they're going to make stops, and you don't have to worry about them letting in goals and that we're going to have to keep scoring. Knowing that (Jake Myers) is making those saves and the defense around him is playing like they were today and have been these past couple games is comforting."
Division I Semifinal - Virginia Coach Quotes
Head Coach Dom Starsia
First and foremost I would say congratulations to Cornell for a terrific game. I thought they just played great. I'm at a little bit of a loss to explain sort of what happened to us today. I thought we were well-prepared going into the game and had a couple good days of practice. We just seemed a little gassed early. Cornell was clearly carrying the play to us. The big rock started rolling down the hill a little bit, and we just couldn't get our arms back around it. We tell you in so many different ways this has been an epic year in our program. I couldn't have enjoyed a bunch of guys - the seniors in particular perhaps, but the team overall. I thought the kids just did a great job all year. I apologized to the team on the field afterwards for not doing a good-enough job preparing them to play today. They have distinguished themselves in so many ways throughout the year, and it's a shame that this is how our season ended out here today. But again, I give a lot of credit to Cornell for how things went out there.
On defensive breakdowns and if it was more goalie play or Cornell getting good shots:
I don't think it was just Adam. We looked like, defensively, that we were capable of winning some of the individual battles, but just sort of no one working together. I don't place the blame on anybody. We could maybe get a slide, but we just couldn't get two. They just were very alert, finding the open man. It's something that had plagued us earlier in the year, and we felt like we had attended to it some the last couple weeks. It was an organization on defense as much as it was anything else I felt like.
On not throwing the extra pass or throwing it and missing it:
In the first half, we threw so many soft balls on offense. It seemed like it was so difficult to exchange a ball. We had been so sharp the last couple of weeks. It just seemed like we just didn't have any extra energy today. I don't think it explains it completely. We have a drill we call "hard corners." We refer to it in our exchanges about having hard corners. We just seemed almost incapable of making a pass offensively in the first half of the game. We got a little better as the game went on. There just wasn't enough urgency at that end of the field early in the game.
On the pace of the game and wanting to play faster:
By the score you wouldn't have thought that Cornell wanted to play deliberately, but I think that was their intent. It's so much easier when you get a lead. One of the most difficult things in sports is, like Danny is suggesting, is to maintain your patience and discipline on offense when you haven't seen the ball for a long time. They jumped up, and you feel like from our perspective, "Hey, we're still in the game. We're down 1-0; we're down 2-0, or 3-1, whatever it was." But they're comfortable in terms of what's going on. So they were able to be deliberate early in the game. I hate to go into a game saying, "Geez, we'd like to score early," because if it doesn't happen, you don't want to kind of hex yourself a little bit. But their ability to jump out to the lead early gave them the ability to stick to the tempo I think that they wanted. I think we gave them some unsettled opportunities that they might not have gone after had the game been a little closer. They could take some chances as the game went on in the unsettled game. I think their scoring - jumping up early in the game - had everything to do with them being able to get comfortable in what was a more deliberate pace even if the score didn't reflect that at the end of the day.
On how Cornell was able to answer after each Virginia score, especially in the third and fourth quarters:
It was a combination of things, as Danny suggested. I think they have a great senior class with some really terrific offensive guys. They're playing with a lot of confidence. Like I suggested earlier, when they had the lead, they could take some chances I thought. We were kind of a step slow and a dollar short on defense, and they were able to cash in. We'd score a goal, and maybe there'd be a little glimmer, but then we pressed out even just a little. They just seemed like they could get the ball in behind us and find somebody and make a play and respond. We just never put two goals together. We never put a run together. I also thought we were going to. I really did, but it just never happened. Cornell had everything to do with that.
On if they were surprised on how potent their attack was:
I thought we were - it wasn't our best day on our close defense like I said. Those guys have given us a great year and busted their butt, but I thought Cornell was very alert around the goal. A lot of emanates also from the fact that Glynn and Seibald can kind of soften you up up front. So you get caught kind of eyeballing those guys for just a little too long and Hurley and Pannell, and those guys could find seams in behind them, behind our defensemen as we were getting ready to try to help against those middies.
Division I Semifinal - Virginia Athlete Quotes
Senior Attack Danny Glading
On a subpar first quarter
"I think we missed some of the early chances that we had. Cornell did a really good job on the 50/50 ground balls after faceoffs so we didn't see the ball very often on offense because they were being so patient with their offense. We didn't have the patience to get to the spots that we needed to and take the high-percentage shots in the first quarter."
On the Cornell defense
"They're a really athletic defense and they're really good on the ground balls but they did slide to us early today and they played completely differently the first time we played them. We didn't necessarily think they were going to play the same way they did earlier in the season, but they were quick to go today, real quick, and they recover fast to the next pass because they're so athletic. We just had to do a better job spinning the ball around and we didn't have it so it didn't work out for us."
On getting into an offensive rhythm
"I really actually felt like we were going to start playing better up until even a couple minutes into the fourth quarter. When we got that first goal in the fourth quarter, I thought that we could have made a run and then Steele [Stanwick] made a great move and hit the crossbar. That's just kind of the way things were going today."
Senior Long-Stick Midfielder Mike Timms
On the differences in Cornell's offense from the earlier meeting this season
"I don't really think they did anything that we hadn't prepared for or hadn't seen them do against other teams. They did what we thought they were going to do but they just did it better then they had been doing it. Like Coach was saying earlier, we could stop the first play and maybe even the second one, but they just had the patience to keep moving the ball around until our defense couldn't keep up and it kind of broke down after they had those long possessions throughout the game."