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Three Stars of the Week: January 21 – 27

  1. Eric Freschi

In the most prominent annual game at Lynah Rink, Eric Freschi improbably delivered the game-winning goal in a 3-2 victory over Harvard on Friday night.

In the last minute of the third period, the sophomore heard his name called by head coach Mike Schafer due to his defensive skill, but it was his offense for which Freschi will be praised on that particular shift.

Freschi skated out with senior Cole Bardreau and junior Christian Hilbrich for what was most likely the last shift of a 2-2 deadlocked battle, having been inserted in between the two to provide some defensive experience. Instead, with 40.5 seconds left, Freschi received a drop pass from Bardreau near the top of the left circle and buried a shot just beneath the blocker of Crimson goaltender Steve Michalek.

A completely sold-out Lynah Faithful erupted, as the Big Red secured victory against No. 4 Harvard in the most recent contest of arguably the best rivalry in Cornell athletics.

Freschi has begun to develop a reputation as a clutch goal scorer after previously netting the game winner over Clarkson in November. In addition, he remains first in the country in short-handed goals per game.

Despite falling 5-2 to Dartmouth on Saturday, the Big Red will look to collect another two points as the team prepares for a 7 p.m. faceoff with Colgate on Friday in Hamilton.

  1. Brian Realbuto

Less than a month back from last season’s knee injury, sophomore Brian Realbuto earned a huge comeback win against No. 16 Mitch Minott before halftime to shift the momentum in favor of the Big Red.

After upsetting defending national champion Derek St. John of Iowa in last year’s NCAA championships, Realbuto suffered a knee injury in a semifinal loss to eventual national champion Alex Dieringer from Oklahoma State. Realbuto underwent knee surgery in the spring and made his return in the Southern Scuffle on New Years Day.

On Sunday, Realbuto proved that he is back in shape and competed at a level that looked all too similar to his outstanding rookie year. The sophomore conceded an early four-point move in the beginning of his match with Minott, but continued to work and eventually accomplished a five-point move in the final seconds to earn an 11-8 victory.

Realbuto’s win quieted the Lehigh home crowd and sparked a 12-3 run for Cornell to close out the dual meet. The Big Red improved to 10-1 overall, marking the squad’s 39th straight win against EIWA opponents and its fourth straight over the Mountain Hawks.

Cornell will return to action for a 6:30 p.m. dual match with Princeton on Friday at the Friedman Wrestling Center.

  1. Nicholle Aston

Sophomore Nicholle Aston led the women’s basketball team to a 46-42 comeback victory over Columbia with her third career double-double, giving the Big Red its first sweep against the Lions in two years.

Aston led all scorers with 14 points and 10 rebounds, which were good enough for Ivy League Player of the Week and College Sports Madness Ivy League Player of the Week honors. She shot 60 percent from the field and also posted new career highs of three steals and two blocks.

Six of Aston’s 14 points came in the last seven minutes of Saturday night’s tilt, helping Cornell to wipe away a five-point deficit during an 11-0 Big Red run, as the team acquired its first lead since the contest began.

Aston has now eclipsed double-digits in scoring for the seventh time in the squad’s previous 10 games. Also following her terrific shooting performance, Aston is ranked second in shooting percentage throughout the Ivy League with a .522.

Cornell will hit the road this weekend for trips to Brown and Yale. The Big Red is set to tip off with the Brown Bears at 7 p.m. on Friday and the Bulldogs at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

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