Don’t call it a comeback; the Cornell women’s lacrosse team — with just one loss to date — is back on a winning streak.
Just over a week ago, the Red (currently ranked 20 in the nation) lost to No. 1 Maryland, but the women managed to bounce back from that matchup to beat Ivy foe Dartmouth, and this Wednesday the Red traveled to University Park, PA, to face, and defeat, No. 10/12 Penn State, 10-7.
The Red is now 10-1 on the season and undefeated in Ivy League, but Cornell may have its biggest Ivy showdown so far on Saturday when they face Princeton at home.
The game against Penn State was a close matchup, one where either Cornell or Penn State could have triumphed; luckily, the Red came away with the win.
On offense, the Red managed to score 10 goals, led by sophomore Joey Coffy’s four-goal performance, a career high.
“Joey was on fire in the attacking end,” said head coach Jenny Graap. “She went four-for-four on her shooting, which is incredible,” said head coach Jenny Graap. “Joey’s first half performance sparked our team for sure.”
The Red got off to a slow start in the game, and allowed Penn State to earn a 5-2 lead in the first half.
However, Cornell was able to mount a furious comeback, scoring six straight rapid-fire goals.
“We were uncharacteristically flat at the opening whistle which resulted in far too many unforced errors,” Graap said. “The great news was our D-unit held strong and [junior] Renee [Poullott] made six saves in the first half.”
Once Cornell’s defensive unit was able to weather the initial scoring frenzy of Penn State, the offense was able to get some key shots to even the game up and take the lead.
“Our team just did a better job of capitalizing on the opportunities we had when we did get the ball,” said senior co-captain Brittany Marriott. “We did a very good job of holding possession on offense, tiring out their defense and then executing on our scoring plays.”
Aside from Coffy’s four goals, Cornell’s 10 goals were contributed by sophomore Taylor Reed, junior Kristy Gilbert, junior Catherine Ellis, senior Olivia Mattyasovszky and junior Amie Dickson. The Red did an excellent job of maintaining its skill and poise during the Penn State matchup playing against a higher ranked team in front of its home crowd in University Park.
“A key to our team’s success this year has been the ability to bring intensity and lots of energy to each and every game we play no matter who we are facing,” Marriott said. “No matter the game, we have a standard of energy and intensity that everyone needs to bring in order for us to get the outcome we want. The team does a great job of not letting the ranking of our opponent get into our heads and affect our play.”
The Red will need to maintain that positive energy and focus this weekend, when the women travel to Princeton to face off against another nationally ranked contender, the 11th-ranked Princeton.
“Princeton is an even bigger game than Penn State and our team knows that,” Marriott said. “We have to make sure to not keep looking backwards at our success so far and look forward to the work we need to put in in order to keep having success.”
Princeton will likely be the biggest contender for Cornell as the Red tries to win an Ivy League championship this spring. The Tigers are the defending Ivy League champions, and to beat them, the women will need to play some of the best lacrosse they have played all season, according to Graap.
“On paper Cornell and Princeton have a lot of similarities,” Graap said. “I’m counting on us to be the hungrier team on Saturday,” said Coach Graap. “We’ve got to bring the desire and the intensity to this match up.”
The Red will face off against the Tigers on Saturday at noon in Princeton, N.J.