The No. 12 Cornell (10-3, 5-2 Ivy) women’s lacrosse team submitted another dominating performance to the NCAA tournament selection committee on Saturday, knocking off Harvard (6-8, 1-6), by a 12-8 count.
Junior Jaimee Reynolds, sophomore Sarah Averson and the Red defense led the way as the team sped to an 11-2 lead before settling into cruise control. Reynolds and Averson each recorded a hat trick, and Cornell out-hustled the visitors for a 32-21 advantage on ground balls.
“There’s no difficulty in inspiring our team for big games,” head coach Jenny Graap ’86 assured. “To be in a big game is awesome. When we are building and working towards a goal, it just awesome.”
For 15 minutes, the Crimson seemed to have solved the Red attack, as it led 2-1. Lizzie Frisbie tossed a couple of assists for Harvard, and finished the game with four points. But Reynolds gave the momentum back to the Red, scoring on a feed from junior Lori Wohlschlegel. There would be no looking back.
Junior co-captain Ginny Miles, Averson and junior Erica Holveck gave the Red an 8-2 lead going into halftime.
“This team is much more mature than last year’s team,” Graap said. “But we’re in the same mode, and we’re starting to gel.”
After holding for ten minutes, Harvard’s defense finally broke holes and Reynolds, freshman Michelle Allen and Wohlschlegel all scored one goal a piece. The romp was on.
To keep the game from getting ugly, Graap began pulling her starters with her team up 11-2.
“There were only fifteen minutes left to play and it seemed like we could let some of the younger kids play,” she explained.
But against the Red second-team, the Crimson finally flexed its muscles.
“Harvard was picking up its intensity. They were angry, and were fighting back.”
Frisbie tossed in two goals within three minutes of each other. After freshman Kate Hirschfield scored Cornell’s final goal, a number of miscues allowed Harvard to score four more times.
“It was interesting the way it happened,” Graap mused. “It worried us on the sidelines that we were starting to make mental mistakes. I didn’t anticipate so many errors and it was getting frustrating.”
But the phenomenal play of Hirschfield and Allen kept the Red’s ride smooth sailing.
“Kate did an outstanding job, and handled the ball well. Michelle also did some nice things [with the ball].”
The Red is quickly catching up in the all-time series, which now stands at 4-19 in Harvard’s advantage. Cornell has won the past three meetings.
Next up for the Red is a colossal showdown with No. 20 Johns Hopkins at Schoellkopf Field on Saturday. The winner of the game will likely get the NCAA at-large bid.
“We are excited to play Hopkins at the same place we beat them last year,” Graap said.
In last year’s ECAC title game, the Red embarrassed the Blue Jays, 16-4.
“[The win] will either work in our favor in that we have the intimidation factor. Or the revenge factor will ignite them. Either way it will be an emotional game,” Graap noted.
The game will be especially emotional for senior co-captain Sarah McGoey, who will be playing her final regular season home game for the Carnellian and white.
Archived article by Sumeet Sarin