The No. 14 Cornell women’s lacrosse team (5–0, 2–0 Ivy) rolled to three straight victories this past week, knocking off Columbia, Vanderbilt and Pennsylvania. In a display of its rising dominance, the Red led or tied in all but two minutes and 12 seconds over the stretch of 180 minutes of game time. The women have now won 10 straight games dating back to last season.
With each successive game, the team displayed a different face.
In its first game, the Red used a balanced offensive attack to down Columbia, although it didn’t blow out the Lions as expected.
“We didn’t perform well at all, in spite of the score,” head coach Jenny Graap ’86 lamented. “We were not satisfied with our effort. The score is not we’re focusing on — we’re trying to learn something from every game.”
The team jumped out to a 6–2 lead in the first half on the strength of junior Jaimee Reynolds’ three goals, but couldn’t put Columbia away.
In the opening minutes of the second half, the Lions cut the lead to three before Cornell reeled off six straight goals en route to its first Ivy League win of the season, 12–5.
Junior Lori Wohlschlegel picked up a hat trick, helping her earn an Ivy League honor roll nod for the week. Sophomore Sarah Fischer and freshman Michelle Allen each scored two, while junior netminder Carrie Giancola saved four shots.
Because of the slight Lion–comeback, the Red was forced to keep many of its starters in the game and wasn’t able to play many reserves, as was expected.
“They are the weakest team in the Ivies and there are certain objectives that we need to accomplish,” Graap said. “We weren’t performing at the level that we should have.”
In its second game, using the lackluster performance as motivation, Cornell looked to avenge last year’s 12–6 loss to Vanderbilt (0–4). At the time, the Red was 5–0 and riding high, before the No. 13 Commodores brought it back to earth.
This time around, determined to keep its winning streak alive, Cornell used an incredible amount of mental and physical toughness to hold off a pesky Vandy squad.
The Commodores opened the game with a free position score six minutes into the game. Just 47 seconds later junior co–captain Ginny Miles took a nice pass from Wohlschlegel to knot the game at one. After another Vandy goal, Fischer tied the game with a free position score. Cornell then scored five of the next six goals through the beginning of the second half, taking a 7–3 lead.
Just as the women were settling into cruise control, the Commodores struck three times in ten minutes, two within 25 seconds of each other, to close the gap to 7–6 with 14 minutes yet to play. But as it has all season, the defense kicked into gear and held its opponent without a goal the rest of the way to preserve the victory.
Despite the close score, the Red actually controlled much of the game, recording 27 shots to Vandy’s 11. The opposing goalie had a stellar individual performance, nullifying many of the Red’s chances.
“We really did dominate most of the game,” Graap confirmed. “We shot so much that it became a factor against us, as they would take the ball and counter.
“Our defense had not been tested, and we were a little bit cold,” she continued. “Overall, it was a very clean game as everyone played solid lacrosse.”
Miles tallied her third goal of the afternoon at the nine–minute mark, making the final score 8–6. The most amazing statistic of the day was that the team as a whole only had five turnovers.
The final game of the week saw the Red revert to its old ways and start out a bit sluggish as it mustered a 2-2 tie after almost 20 minutes of play.
“We didn’t play very well,” Graap agreed. “We came out flat while they were feisty and aggressive. That was a frustration for my team. I tried to prepare them for that, but they didn’t respond quickly enough. We’ve got to continually work hard.
“But we learned a lesson. Every team wants to beat us. Now it’s a very different mental preparation going into games. For me as a coach it’s different when they’re expected to win. When we’re higher ranked, we have to play consistently.”
A goal by Averson and two by Miles gave the team the boost it needed, as it led 5–3 going into the half. However, early in the second half, Penn’s Jenny Hartman scored two goals around one by Miles, cutting the lead to 6–5 with 20 minutes left in the game.
The team was in a dogfight once again, and as in its previous game, the defense came to the rescue. Junior Kate McCorry and company shutdown the Quakers the rest of the way, while a quartet of forwards hit goals to give Cornell a 10–5 victory.
Sophomore Katie Lavin got the offense rolling again by scoring her first goal of the season at the 9:41 mark. Miles, Reynolds, and Wohlschlegel soon followed suit. Miles finished with four goals, recording her second straight hat trick while Reynolds notched her team–leading 14th goal. Giancola had another solid day in the box, saving nine shots while playing the full 60 minutes.
The team next plays Stanford on Berman Field tomorrow at 4 p.m.
“We’re excited about the three home games coming up, and we’re looking forward to warm weather,” Graap laughed.
Archived article by Sumeet Sarin