After enduring three consecutive defeats and the loss of its leading scorer, senior Kristen Smith, to a season-ending knee injury, the women’s lacrosse team did not have much going for it heading into its pair of Ivy games this past weekend.
The No. 14 Red (6-5, 3-2 Ivy), however, responded with a pair of wins and one of its best games of the season. After an uninspiring, but effective 11-8 win over Brown on Schoellkopf Field Friday, Cornell dominated Columbia, 15-5, in New York City yesterday.
“I think that the Columbia game was a really awesome team effort,” said Cornell head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “It was one of our best 60 minutes of the season … I think today was really outstanding. It showed us how much we have learned this season.”
Without Smith, whose 22 points had led the team in scoring through its first nine games, the Red relied on its youth to be the offensive catalyst against the Lions. In fact, freshmen and sophomores were responsible for every single Cornell goal.
“The fact that we were able to get the offense going without our leading scorer is pretty significant,” Graap said.
First year player Katherine Simmons led the charge for the Red, notching four goals, including three in the first half to help Cornell get out to a 7-2 halftime lead. An 8-0 run spanning the two halves put Columbia away for good, as the Lions could never get closer than eight goals over the last 20 minutes of the game.
Other key performances included sophomore Margaux Viola’s three goals as well as freshman Courtney Farrell’s two goal, two assist effort. Meanwhile, rookies Amanda Linnertz, Juliet White and sophomore Lindsey Moore each recorded two goals.
“White was outstanding,” Graap said. “She doesn’t have many numbers on the year, but she came in, scored two goals and was really a factor.”
Against Brown, the Red came out of the gate a little flat, spotting the Bears a two goal lead in the early going. However, a 5-1 run to close out the first half, highlighted by two Simmons goals, gave Cornell the lead for good.
In the second half, the two teams traded goals, and, with Brown unable to get closer than two goals, the Red held on for the victory.
“We won here at home, but we didn’t play with as much poise and confidence as we needed too,” Graap said.
Controlling possession of the ball is the key facet in which Graap hopes to see her team improve on. Specifically, draw controls have acted as Cornell’s achilles’ heel all season, and this was exemplified in the Brown game. In that contest, the Red came away with possession of the ball in only 6-of-20 opportunities.
“Brown did a great job in that area,” Graap said. “We’ve been struggling in draw controls. Against Brown, it was a huge frustration because they kept getting the ball … It’s an area we’ve got to continually work on.”
Nevertheless, after breaking its three-game losing streak with the pair of wins this past weekend, Cornell’s outlook for success, as its season winds down, looks brighter. This is especially true with an important Ivy League match-up at No. 19 Yale next Saturday.
“It definitely feels good [getting the wins],” Graap said. “We have four important games left. It was good to get some confidence this weekend.”
Archived article by Scott Reich
Sun Staff Writer