Frustrated. Heart-broken. Beaten. Gut-wrenched. Downtrodden.
No grouping of words can describe the empty feeling piercing the soul of the Cornell women’s lacrosse team, having fallen to Dartmouth, 6–5 in double overtime Saturday afternoon.
“It was a long bus ride on the way home,” junior netminder Carrie Giancola recalled the trip back from Hanover, N.H. “We were obviously upset about it. Everybody was analyzing and rethinking the game — what we could have done to win.”
“Losing is not fun, and losing in double overtime is tough to swallow,” head coach Jenny Graap ’86 stated.
The fact that the Red had several chances to pull off the upset made the loss even harder to swallow. Cornell outshot the Green 27–14, kept the draw control advantage at 10–3, and most importantly, held a tenuous 5–4 lead with one minute left in the first overtime. But a goal by Suzy Gibbons 1:45 into the second overtime effectively ended Cornell’s chances at an Ivy League title.
“We didn’t want to pat ourselves on the back for staying close,” said a frustrated Giancola. “Yes, we got more draw-controls, but that was bad because we lost. The past couple of years we’ve said that we don’t get the respect we deserve, but the fact is we need to win the games that matter. We play them close, but it’s still a loss. Great, we got to double overtime. Who cares? We have to win in double overtime.”
Cornell was slow out of the gates, falling behind 4–1 in the first half. Sophomore Sarah Fischer scored the Red’s first goal, 3:35 into the game, before a Green onslaught. Three different players scored for Dartmouth, which waltzed confidently into the break.
“We’ve got to come out of the breaks firing away,” Giancola noted. “Starting slow killed us. We need to be the team that is up at halftime, forcing the other team to catch up. This has been an issue all year, and something we really, really need to work on.”
The Red displayed its mettle in the second half as the defense completely shut down its opponent, and junior Jaimee Reynolds and sophomore Sarah Averson helped cut the lead to one, 4–3. With 3:07 left in the game, junior co-captain Ginny Miles tied the game on a free position shot, sending the game into overtime, which is split into two three-minute halves.
One minute into the first overtime, freshman Sarah Graham gave Cornell the lead, 5–4. The Red then kept Dartmouth scoreless for two minutes, well into the second half of overtime. With the clock winding down, Cornell held the ball, and looked to seal the victory. It decided to take a shot to put away the Green, but couldn’t convert. Fifteen seconds later, Dartmouth took advantage of the miscue, scoring a goal to send the game into a sudden-death second overtime.
Again the teams remained at bay, tied 5–5, until finally, 1:45 into the second half of the second overtime, Dartmouth scored to end the game.
“Most of the girls are sophomores and juniors, and have started already started for a year. We need to take the maturity and use it to our advantage,” Giancola said. “We’re not freshmen anymore, we shouldn’t be making those mistakes. We can’t use [immaturity] as an excuse. We’ve been there before.”
“We knew that Dartmouth hadn’t lost a game on the new turf stadium Scully-Fahey Field, where we played,” Graap lamented. “We knew that the Big Green hadn’t lost to Cornell in the past 10 years. We knew that Dartmouth hadn’t lost an Ivy League game at home since 1997. We knew they were ranked 11th and we were ranked 13th. For all these reasons, we knew the victory would be that much sweeter.
“Our strength and conditioning coach, Tom Howley, even made the trip with us and shared his inspiration in the locker room before the contest,” Graap continued. “A large group of parents and friends drove to [New Hampshire] to cheer us on.
“We wanted to win for them, for ourselves, for our loyal alumnae. . . we wanted the win so badly we could taste it . . . can you sense the disappointment?”
The officiating also had an effect on the game, as two Cornell goals were called back, one for being shot after a whistle, and another for an off-ball illegal pick during the shot.
“There are always a lot of what ifs,” Giancola said. “But you can’t go by that. We could always argue with the officials. [Graap] tells us to score one goal for each referee. It’s our fault for not scoring [enough].”
With opportunities for winning the Ivy title slipping away, the Red must set its sights on making the NCAA tournament and focusing on one game at a time. Cornell next faces Brown this Saturday at Schoellkopf.
Archived article by Sumeet Sarin