With its dry spell spanning more than a month, the women’s lacrosse team halted a five-game losing skid with victories over Ivy foes Brown and Columbia this past weekend. The Red (3-8, 2-3 Ivy) topped the Bears, 11-9, on Friday in Providence, R.I., before returning home yesterday for the season’s first win on Schoellkopf Field, 10-8 over the Lions. Head coach Jenny Graap ’86 was relieved to get back in the win column, but saw unfortunate similarities between the two tight contests.
“The two games were actually pretty similar in that both times we had a decent lead but then let our opponent score the last three goals [to close the gap],” she said. “That makes it really nerve-wracking, frankly.”
Cornell upended Brown (5-4, 2-2 Ivy) for the fifth consecutive time, using a 4-0 run early on to take a 5-2 lead that would never change hands. A 7-5 halftime advantage ballooned to 11-6 before Brown’s surge in the game’s last five minutes. Juniors Kristen Smith and Lindsay Steinberg enjoyed another stellar offensive day, combining for five goals and four assists, while sophomore Maggie Fava saved 11 shots in goal for the Red.
Although the team’s 28 shots against Brown (and 29 against Columbia) signaled an improvement for the hesitant offense that showed up against Dartmouth last week, Graap was not satisfied. “We’re just not finishing well,” she said. “We had some good looks and decent shots but they weren’t going in.”
“We were successful when we moved the ball fast to open players,” she said. “But when we tried to force it without passing first, a lot of our shots were low-angle. We definitely need to place our shots better.”
Yesterday’s contest against the Lions continued the tradition of Red dominance over an opponent that has never beaten another Ivy League squad. Despite the outcome, Columbia proved a stingier foe than in recent years.
Sloppy ball-handling by the Red early on allowed the Lions to jump in front, 1-0, but Cornell took over to lead, 6-2, at the half. Lackluster Red defense on the transition permitted Columbia to claw back within striking distance before the final buzzer.
Aside from a 1 hour and 48 minute game delay due to lightning, the game was also marred by 37 turnovers and 42 fouls, 19 of which were called against Cornell. Graap lamented her players’ tendency for crashing into Lions.
“We weren’t composed or in control,” Graap said. “When we went to double team we needed to hold position and instead we ran right into their girls. That’s a foul.”
Graap’s frustration stemmed from her belief that her team is physically and fundamentally superior to Columbia’s, but that that was not evidenced by the play on the field.
“A win when you don’t really play well is not that helpful as far as getting your momentum going,” she said. “We’ve learned a lot from our losses this year and we need to learn from these wins that were, in some respects, indicative of us not achieving our goals.”
Archived article by Dan Schiff
Sun Staff Writer