The No. 15 women’s lacrosse team started its season in high fashion, beating No. 14 Penn State in State College, Pa. Saturday’s 11-9 victory was a strong start for the up-and-coming Red. The win was fueled by a multi-faceted attack, with eight players tallying points.
“With seven people scoring 11 goals, it was a big spread. A lot of people contributed, and we really played well together. It truly was a team effort,” said junior Lori Wohlschlegal.
Cornell is finally gaining respect in the league after last year’s 13-4 season. Capping the year was a victory in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships over Johns Hopkins and setting new school records in almost every category. The Red traveled to Europe in the summer, and brought back the Prague Cup as a testament to their success. Last year’s achievements led the Red to its first ranking, at 15th.
At Holuba Hall, Penn State opened with a 2-0 lead, but the Red got on the attack and scored four straight goals. Sophomore Sarah Averson scored the first goal for Cornell off a pass by fellow sophomore Sarah Fischer, at the 22:15 mark. Two minutes later, junior co-captain Ginny Miles got one past the PSU goalie from the free position.
Sophomore Erica Holveck fed the ball to junior Lori Wohlschlegal for the third goal, and then Holveck scored unassisted to double the CU lead. Penn State followed the Red offensive attack with two goals in 27 seconds.
“This is our first game, and we came out nervous and made a lot of mistakes,” said junior Jamiee Reynolds.
It took Cornell five minutes to answer the points and gain a 6-4 lead. The first goal was on a behind the net feed from Reynolds to Wohlschlegal, who missed her initial attempt, grabbed the rebound and finally got the ball in. For her first career goal, freshman Michelle Allen scored unassisted with 8:46 remaining in the half.
“We all felt a lot of nerves since this was our first game,” noted Wohlschlegal.
Goalie Carrie Giancola let a Penn State goal slip in, to make the score 6-5. Allen continued to make her young presence felt, scoring a left-handed shot off a feed from Reynolds. The defense held off the Nittany Lions until, with 0:02 remaining in the half, Penn State attacker Colleen O’Hara scored an unassisted goal to bring her team within one. The 7-6 halftime score had the Red ahead, but the Nittany Lions owned the momentum.
After the break, Penn State jumped out and scored two quick goals, within 20 seconds, catching the Red off-guard. It took five minutes of play before the Red answered the attack, with Averson scoring from the free position, which tied up the game at eight.
Cornell regained the lead after a solo goal by the junior All-American Reynolds. After the goal, the defenses for both teams took over, and there was almost 15 minutes of scoreless play.
“[The] defense, led by senior co-captain Sarah McGoey, juniors Katie McCorry, Sarah Graham, Kari Zarzecki and keeper Carrie Giancola, thwarted many Penn State attempts to the cage,” praised head coach Jenny Graap.
Giancola finished the game with seven saves off 22 Penn State shots. She played the entire for the Red.
At the 5:27 mark, junior-transfer Beth Calder made her impact for the team, racking up her first goal at Cornell. Penn State followed with a shot at 1:36 in the final quarter to bring the score to 10-9.
After a time out, Sarah Fischer won the draw control for the Red. Cornell managed the clock, and Reynolds snuck in another goal, unassisted, to bring the visiting team tally to 11. The defense held, and Cornell returned home victorious.
Following the victory, the Red celebrated their win.
“We were so jumpy, all the excitement was amazing,” Reynolds exclaimed.
“I am so excited, it was a thriller. It set the tone for the rest of the season,” added Wohlschlegal.
“Overall, we felt we were equal to Penn, and we alternated being 14th and 15th in the polls with them. We knew we could win, and it was a great start. We knew it was important to start with a big win,” she finished.
“We knew they were beatable. We played a tight game. Now we know we will fight close games to the end,” Reynolds explained. “The crucial part [in the game] wasn’t just one attacker, we spread the goals. You can’t shut us down, we have too many people who can score. It shows how much depth we have,” she added.
The Red is looking to win the Ivy title this year, and make it to the NCAA tournament. The women continue their mission when the squad hosts No. 20 Rutgers on Saturday at Schoellkopf Field.
Archived article by Cammy Kandiko