After suffering two close losses in its past three games, on Saturday the women’s lacrosse team faced No. 11 Loyola — a team with a storied coach, as well as one that many consider a contender for the national championship. Although the game started out evenly with each team trading goals in the first half, a combination of an explosive second half and a strong effort by senior goaltender Kyla Dambach propelled Cornell to a much-needed victory going into the last quarter of its season.
“It is always great to get a win against a ranked team,” said senior captain and attack Jessi Steinberg. “Loyola always puts up a competitive effort against whoever they play, and they are coached by one of the best ever. This win was huge for us.”
Steinberg put the Red (7-3, 3-2 Ivy League) in front at the beginning of the game with a quick goal, but Loyola (8-3, 4-0 Big East) stormed back and scored three straight to go up, 3-1. The game went back and forth, with each team going on scoring runs until the first half ended with a score of 8-7 in favor of Cornell. The Red was outmatched by a 10-6 margin on the draw control in the first half, and it seemed as if Loyola was poised to make a run at some point in the game.
“Loyola was a great team, and they put up a fight the whole first half,” said senior midfielder Katie Kirk.
The second half, however, was a different game. As soon as play started, junior attack Caroline Salisbury, senior attack Olivia Knotts and Kirk each scored two goals, lifted the Red to 17-9 in a just eight minutes.
“The game was an all-around effort for us,” Steinberg said. “This is definitely huge for momentum going into our game against Syracuse.”
In addition, Cornell’s goaltending was spot on, as Dambach made multiple saves to prevent Loyola from gaining a foothold in the game. Loyola never managed to get any type of run going, so Cornell claimed the game, 17-10.
“When you have great goaltending, it just gives you a huge mental edge,” Kirk said. “Kyla played well all game, and we just knew that she would be coming up the whole game.”
Cornell will need to carry this weekend’s momentum forward, as it will face off against in-state rival Syracuse — a perennial powerhouse that is currently ranked No. 2 in the nation.
“Syracuse has such a high powered and fast-moving offense,” Steinberg said. “Our game plan is to do everything we can to slow them down and just play our style of play.”
Cornell will host Syracuse at home for a Tuesday night match-up starting at 7:00 p.m.