With five minutes to go in yesterday’s women’s lacrosse game against Rutgers, the Red sat comfortably ahead 13-7 and appeared to be smoothly heading toward a sweep of its two-game weekend home stand. Moments later, however, the Cornell squad and its supporters let out of a collective sigh of relief after holding off a furious Scarlet Knight rally to prevail, 13-12, on Schoellkopf Field.
“I definitely got a little nervous there,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “We had trouble with our defensive transitions and fast breaking off the draw … Also, their one player got hot and started firing goals in.”
That player, Rutgers attacker Kate Shomo, almost single-handedly forced the Red into overtime. Beginning with just 4:24 to play, she netted five goals in just over three minutes. Finally, however, the Red won the draw control and ran out the clock while hanging onto the ball in the Rutgers end of the field.
The victory capped off a strong weekend for the Red (8-6, 4-3 Ivy), which clinched its fifth winning season in the Ivy League in the last six years after knocking off Harvard, 7-5, Friday afternoon on Schoellkopf Field.
In that contest, Cornell dominated the first half, jumping out to a 6-1 lead after the first 30 minutes. However, Harvard, like Rutgers, would refuse to go down easy, holding the Red to just one goal in the second half while making its own comeback.
Nevertheless, the Cornell defense and freshman goalie Ashley Blum responded to the offensive lull, never letting the Crimson get within two goals in the second half.
“It was a great defensive effort in the Harvard game,” Graap said. “Blum had a great game in goal.”
Blum stopped 12 shots and collected three ground balls in the rare start.
Offensively, Cornell’s scoring leader, freshman Courtney Farrell, led the way with a hat trick, while sophomore Margaux Viola chipped in two goals of her own. Junior Allison Schindler also notched an assist to move into second-place tie for Cornell’s all-time leaders in that category. Overall, however, the Red struggled on the attack, unable to score a goal over the game’s last 28 minutes.
Against Rutgers, the offense, led by some inspired play from freshman Katherine Simmons, got back on track. Simmons scored six goals and Farrell collected her second hat trick of the weekend to help the Red build its lead late into the second half. Sophomore Lindsey Moore and Viola also contributed two goals each on the day.
“I was pleased with the offense effort against Rutgers,” Graap said. “We rebounded well after a tough Harvard game.”
Besides the last five minutes of the game, the Cornell defense had put together another solid game, especially in defending Rutgers’ Katie Batiuk, one of the top scorers in the country. Entering the game with 44 goals in 14 games, the Red held Batiuk to just one score yesterday.
“It was a combined effort to shut down [Batiuk],” Graap said. “[Sophomore] Anne Riordan and [senior] Annie Berkery did a great job trading off on her throughout the game. They stepped up and did a good job against her.”
The pair of wins was also special for that fact that it was the last home weekend for the Red’s three seniors — Berkery, Julia Hughey and Kristen Smith. All three were honored prior to Sunday’s game as part of Senior Day ceremonies.
“Senior day was a special moment for us,” Graap said. “Berkery, Hughey and Smith all had amazing careers and did a great job helping our young team this year.”
Archived article by Scott Reich
Sun Staff Writer