Lade’s constant pressure, last-minute defensive stop initiate game winning sequence

first_img Comments ITHACA, N.Y. — John Lade knew where the ball was going. Cornell attack Rob Pannell had already stalled with possession behind the goal for more than a minute. Then, Pannell did something that surprised Lade — he passed it off.Lade wasn’t going to let him get it back.‘He’s a great player,’ Lade said. ‘We just knew we had to lock him up at the end because we knew they were going to try to get him the ball. He wants the ball in his hands.’Reaching his 6-foot pole into the path of a pass from Cornell attack Scott Austin, Lade knocked down the pass intended for Pannell. And with that, he started SU’s game-winning play. Lunging, he saved the ball from going out of bounds and pushed it to SU midfielder Joel White, who slithered between three defenders to bring the ball up the field.The rest of the moment for Lade, who watched as Chris Daniello scooped up a rebound and scored at the horn, was a blur.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAll he knew was that he started it.‘Luckily, I was able to get a stick on it and start (the play),’ Lade said. ‘Thank God for Joel (White) tight-roping up the sideline.’Like he had so many times before, Lade once again shut down Pannell, who came into Tuesday’s game as the leading scorer in Division I lacrosse. This time, it was with the game on the line. This time, he started SU’s march downfield to victory, an 8-7 buzzer-beating triumph over Cornell.It was the same story all game for Lade. He didn’t want Pannell to touch the ball. And when he did, Lade made sure Pannell couldn’t go anywhere. Lade cut off Pannell’s angles, forcing him into tough shots that were stopped by SU goaltender John Galloway. And as a result, an attack that had averaged more than five points per game was shut down, only mustering three assists and being held with little opportunity to create and make plays for his offense.‘We have so much confidence in what John can do,’ Galloway said. ‘We knew that he matched up well with Pannell.’And on the final sequence, it was business as usual for Lade.Cornell called timeout with 2:11 to play in the game, and Lade knew where the ball was going. Pannell knew where the ball was going. He said after the game that Cornell head coach Jeff Tambroni had called his name in the huddle.So Pannell stalled. And still, as he had done all day, Lade didn’t give Pannell an inch to work with. On Pannell’s attempted dodges, Lade cut off his angles. He poke-checked him constantly, forcing him to retreat and set up once again.‘Cornell, like anybody, has its go-to guy,’ SU head coach John Desko said. ‘And he’s certainly the go-to guy. He’s leading the nation in points right now. I don’t know who else they would go to in that situation.’But Galloway and the rest of the SU defense had confidence in Lade. And Desko’s game plan hinged on Lade constantly pressuring the ball when it was in Pannell’s stick.When Pannell couldn’t find any space, he passed off. And with that, Lade found his opportunity.Pannell knew he should’ve held onto the ball. You can’t give Lade any more chances than you have to.‘Looking back on it, I probably should’ve tried to hold onto the ball for a minute and a half,’ Pannell said after the game. ‘Just stood back there by myself because I know I’m capable of it.’Instead, Lade was given another chance, an opportunity he seized. Like he had done repeatedly, he shut down Pannell.‘We knew they were going to go for the last shot,’ Galloway said. ‘We knew we just had to play patient defense and wait for the right moment to get the ball. It’s remnants of last (season’s) championship game (against Cornell), just waiting for the right moment to get the ball. And John was fortunate to make a play.’Hopping past Lade after the game, SU midfielder Kevin Drew and attack Christian Pagli yelped his way.‘Yeah, Lade! We got ‘em, Lade! You got ‘em, Lade!’In part triumph and part disbelief, Lade grinned.‘We did it. Thank God I was able to get a stick on the ball.’ bplogiur@syr.edu Published on April 13, 2010 at 12:00 pm Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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