The women’s lacrosse team put up a good fight, but was unable to prevail over the strong conference contender that it found in the No. 7 Dartmouth squad Saturday at Schoellkopf Field. The Red (3-7, 2-3 Ivy) was ousted, 9-6, by the Green, which enhanced its record to (9-1, 4-0 Ivy) on the season. Once again, sophomore attacker Jessi Steinberg brought the heat, registering her fourth hat trick of the spring. Steinberg also controlled two draws, picked up a ground ball and caused one turnover in the loss. Classmate and midfielder Katie Kirk was a huge presence on both ends of the field as she found the back of the net on offense, collected three ground balls and forced three Green turnovers on defense. “We really looked to start our defensive in our ride immediately after a shot was saved,” explained Kirk. “We worked to slow their transition down in order to have time for our players to find their marks. Once we were in our defensive set we looked to have high pressure on the ball in order to disrupt their offensive and take away their ability to set up their plays. “We did a better job in the second half of pressuring ball and following this goal, which held them to only three shots in the second half. On offense, we had to adjust to the fact that Dartmouth was face guarding either Jessi or Libby. This forced some of our other players to step-up and handle the ball in positions [in plays] where they might not have otherwise had to,” she added.The consistency of captains Morgan Hale, Tissy O’Connor and Libby Johnson showed through in the noon competition as the trio repeated solid performances for the Red. Collectively, Hale and O’Connor, both seniors, won four ground balls and four draw controls, while Johnson, a junior, recovered two ground balls and added an assist. “[Johnson] showed great composure under the face guard that they had against her. Dartmouth was very smart to choose her to mark her up so closely because we rely on Libby as our offensive leader to set up our plays and control the flow of our offense. We had prepared for them to face-guard Jessi, so we had to adjust quickly to this, which again forced other players to step up to help run the offense. [Senior midfielder Lindsey] Kane and [O’Connor] also played great body defense, while also getting some great checks off, many of which the refs unfortunately called against them. It was just unlucky,” Kirk said. Other statistical leaders in the day included sophomore Cacki Helmer and freshman Lauren Halpern. Helmer caused two turnovers and gained possession of a ground ball. The rookie Halpern tallied a goal and had a ground ball pick-up, in addition to a caused turnover. “Towards the end of the first half and the beginning of the second, Dartmouth did a great job of capitalizing on the opportunities that they had,” said Johnson. “For example, they only took three shots in the second half, which came in the first ten minutes, and they were all goals. They had really smart looks at the net and were successful converting on them.” Cornell beat out Dartmouth in two categories with 17 shots to the Green’s 16 and holding a slight edge in draw controls, 9-8. However, Dartmouth’s 21-14 advantage in ground balls ultimately hurt Cornell. “I think it was a hard fought game even though we lost,” commented Kirk. “We had some unlucky calls from the refs, which contributed to the unfavorable momentum change, but overall I think we worked hard despite these setbacks. After the game we talked about how we had one more shot then Dartmouth, more draw controls, and only held them to three shots in the second half, which were all very positive things we were proud of.”Kirk added that Dartmouth is a top-ranked team that averages about 15 goals a game, so the Red was very proud that it was able to hold the Green to just nine goals, stop Dartmouth’s momentum after a six-goal run and did not let the visitor affect the Red mentally. Cornell kept its cool and kept fighting back.“We expected Dartmouth to be a very physical team that would pressure us all over the field,” said Johnson. “They had a very balanced attack, a high-pressure defense, and a very experienced goalie active around the crease. We are no–t satisfied with our 9-6 score, although it felt better than our Penn game when we let them go on a big scoring run.” The Green’s Kristen Goldberg matched Steinberg’s offensive total with three goals, two of which came in the initial two minutes of the game, and Sarah Parks chipped in two scores and controlled three of the team’s eight draws on the circle. Senior goalie and Tewaaraton Watch List honoree Julie Wadland recorded six saves in the Dartmouth net, in addition to winning three ground balls. “Our team was impressive in the way that we responded after getting behind by five,” said Johnson. “We didn’t give up and were able to put two more goals on the scoreboard. Towards the end of the second half, though, their defense clamped down and our attack could have done a better job of staying composed to complete a comeback.” Kirk noted that even though beating Princeton was a season highlight, the Red did not want to settle with defeating just one top-ranked team.“We knew Dartmouth was going to be a tough team and before the game, Coach Graap talked to us about how this game would come down to our desire and willpower to beat another solid team. At halftime we wanted to improve our defensive pressure in order to disrupt their ability to set up their offense –– which we did,” Kirk said. The Red still has a shot at making the Ivy League tournament at this time. However, the road the team needs to take to get there will not be an easy one. “We need to beat Brown this Friday and Yale at the end of April to have that chance. And then it depends on how the other teams play out against each other. Our goal for the rest of the season is to continue to grow as a team, so that we can peak at the right time, for the Ivy League Tournament,” Kirk said.
Original Author: Jane Peters