The No. 3 seed Ohio State Buckeyes got all they could handle and more in the quarterfinal round today. The Cornell Big Red used a huge first half on the offensive end to blow out OSU 16-6.
Cornell took the lead early and never let up. The Big Red were able to maintain possession throughout the first half and were able to limit the production of the Buckeye offense. Cornell took an 11-3 lead into the locker room at halftime and never looked back.
Tewaaraton Trophy finalist Rob Pannell was tremendous on attack for Cornell, while his roommate Steve Mock had a career high seven goals in the win. Pannell finished with eight points, leaving him just six shy of the single-season NCAA record as he heads for the semifinal round. His two goals and six assists today certainly made a statement as he looks to take home the player of the year award this year.
Ohio State really struggled throughout the contest, and its inability to produce defensive stops proved to be the difference. The Buckeye defense gave Steve Mock way too much room near the crease, and was unable to pack it in tight and let its goalie try and stop shots from further out. Goaltending was a problem for OSU, but the Cornell attackers were taking quality shots from close quarters every time down the field.
Cornell was able to score at will, but the Big Red's defense was equally as impressive. Ohio State scored 16 goals just a week ago in the first round, but was held to just five by Cornell today. The Cornell defense was aggressive, and was quick to slide and double-team some of the Buckeye's better players.
This game was a yawner to start the quarterfinal round. I thought Cornell would win, but certainly not by 10 goals. Cornell was relentless today, and seems to be playing its best lacrosse at the right time. With Pannell and Mock running on all cylinders, it will be tough to defeat the Big Red in this year's tournament.
Cornell will face the winner of the Duke-Notre Dame game in the Final Four next weekend in Philadelphia.
Stay tuned to Bleacher Report for continuous coverage of this weekend's quarterfinal matches.
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