The Cornell women’s lacrosse team (10-2, 4-1 Ivy) lost its second game of the season this past Saturday to Princeton (9-3, 4-0 Ivy). Princeton is now the only remaining undefeated team in conference play. The game, which never had more than a two-goal difference, was a hard-fought contest for the Red on the Tigers’ home turf.
Going into the game, Cornell knew it would be a close; the Red was ranked for one of the first times all season at No. 20 (18 currently), and the No. 11 Tigers were the only other undefeated team in the Ivy League — a pivotal status in the weeks leading up to the Ivy League Championship tournament. The Red were able to outplay their Ivy rivals in the first half and went into halftime with a 4-2 lead, but the Tigers responded with a scoring rally after the break to win the game 8-7.
“I would say it was not a difference in Princeton’s play in the second half that got them the win, but a difference in our play,” said co-captain Brittany Marriott ’16. “We did not play with as much intensity and speed as we did in the first half. We also did not play with as much patience, forcing shots that were easily saved, and thus we gave Princeton a lot more opportunities that subsequently led to more goals for them.”
Although the Tigers’ second-half scoring outburst gave them the victory, the Red stayed with them the whole game and left New Jersey feeling evenly matched with the Tigers.
“This definitely felt like the closest game in terms of match-up of the teams we have played so far,” said Marriott. “I also think the small differentials in the score can be attributed to the fact that it was such a big Ivy game and rival. Energy and intensity of both teams kept the score close.”
In these last few weeks of Ivy League conference play, every matchup will have an impact on the postseason Ivy League tournament. The top-seeded team at the end of the season will host the tournament, and Princeton, last year’s champions, currently look like they could be hosting for a second year in a row. However, upcoming matchups between the current top four conference teams leave the final seeds undetermined.
The Tigers take on Penn (currently in third place) tonight, and the Red takes on Harvard (currently in fourth place) this Saturday. Head coach Jenny Graap knows it will be tough to come out victorious over these four teams.
“The competition among the top four teams in the Ivies is intense,” she said.
Regardless of who is in the top spot at the beginning of the tournament, the Red will be ready for any matchups during the competition, especially a rematch with Princeton.
“There’s a strong possibility we could play Princeton again in the Ivy tournament, and I think our players learned some valuable lessons in the loss,” Graap said. “If we are lucky enough to see the Tigers again, our transition game has to be cleaner, and we need our offense to attack with more speed and finish their shots more accurately.”
The Red played Syracuse University at home on April 19th, and have their second-to-last Ivy matchup of the regular season on April 23rd at Harvard University.