Continuing to build momentum, the Cornell women’s lacrosse team defeated in-state Ivy League rival Columbia, 14-11, at Kraft Field on Friday.
This win moves the overall record between the teams to 22-0, with the Red (4-1) sustaining its perfect record against the Lions (3-2).
Cornell got off to a shaky start in the first half, allowing Columbia to score five straight unanswered goals, and railing by three goals at the half, 8-5.
“Columbia played an excellent first half against Cornell,” said head coach Jenny Graap. “We knew how fast their midfielders were, but we still gave them too many drives and shots on net.”
Finding itself in an unfamiliar position with its largest halftime deficit of the season, the Red refocused its efforts in the second half.
“At halftime, the coaches stressed discipline and control,” Graap said. “We needed to turn around the draw control statistic — which we did — [and] we needed to be more patient on defense … [On] offense [we] needed to get in sync and start producing.”
The Red responded to the Lions challenge by mounting a second half comeback, scoring six straight unanswered goals in the process. The win represented Cornell’s fourth of the season and allowed the team to maintain its unblemished Ivy League record (2-0).
“Although things weren’t going our way, we were really able to pick up the intensity at half time and support each other,” said sophomore attacker Tomasina Leska. “We knew we were capable of playing so much better and that we were well prepared, so we stayed confident and didn’t let the score rattle us.”
Highlights from the game include five goals from senior co-captain attacker Catherine Ellis and five assists from senior attacker Amie Dickson. Leska scored three times, while senior co-captain midfielder Kristy Gilbert and junior midfielder Taylor Reed tallied two goals. Junior midfielder Joey Coffy and freshman midfielder Caroline Allen also each found the back of the net once.
On the defensive end, senior co-captain defender Catie Smith led the way, fielding six ground balls, and Reed followed close behind, fielding four. Senior goalkeeper Renee Poullot tallied nine saves for the Red.
“One of the biggest takeaways was that we have a strong backbone,” Graap said. “Despite being down and feeling exasperated, we were able to channel our frustrations into positive effort on the field. I’m proud of our team for being resilient.”
Looking ahead, the Red looks to continue to establish itself as one of the top teams in the nation. The team will take a short respite from Ancient Eight play to take on the University of Albany (3-3) at Schoellkopf Field on Wednesday, March 15 at 5 p.m.
“Albany is a tough, well coached team, and we will need to start better … to put ourselves in the best position to beat a strong in-state rival,” Graap said. “Albany has already played three national powerhouses in Penn State, UNC and Syracuse, and they showed strength against all three opponents. Cornell needs to play all 60 minutes with a focused intensity.”
“We came out slow against Columbia and learned our lesson, so we’ll be focusing on playing gritty and disciplined from the start,” Leska added.