March 26, 2007

W. Lacrosse Splits Ivy Games, Falls to Denver

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Despite displaying flashes of brilliance in each contest, the women’s lacrosse team (2-5, 1-1 Ivy) managed just one win in three tries on its Spring Break road trip up and down the East Coast this past week.

Opening strong, the Red kicked off its Ivy League season with a 12-8 win over Columbia in New York City last Saturday. However, Cornell was unable to keep the momentum going as it dropped games to Denver, 17-13, in College Park, Md. and at Penn, 14-9.

[img_assist|nid=22246|title=Ground ball for grabs.|desc=Senior Lindsey Moore (8), fighting for position in the Red’s 14-1 win over Cal on March 10, 2006, had two goals and two assists in a 17-13 loss to Denver on Mar 21.|link=node|align=left|width=87|height=100]

“It was a long Spring Break,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “We didn’t play as sharply and cleanly as we needed to at times.”

With six points — two goal and four assists — against the Lions, sophomore Courtney Farrell set the tone for Cornell in game where it would never trail.

Columbia has never beaten the Red in 11 contests, but kept the game close early into the second half, trailing by just one goal. However, a 6-1 Cornell rally, highlighted by a pair of goals from both Farrell and classmate Katherine Simmons, put the game out of reach.

Along with Farrell and Simmons, junior Charlotte Schmidlapp and senior Lindsey Moore also had multi-point contests for the Red. Meanwhile, senior Mary Montague made eight saves in goal to collect her first win of the season.

Unlike the Columbia game, Cornell’s game against Denver unravelled into a tumultuous back-and-forth affair. The Pilots opened the scoring with three straight goals in the first 3:13 of the game. However, the Red scored nine of the next 10 goals, taking a 9-5 lead into the half.

Unfortunately for Cornell, all that momentum changed sides after the break as Denver made an 8-2 run over the first 16 minutes of the half to seize a 13-11 lead.

Moore and Simmons tacked on a pair of quick goals to even the score at 13 apiece with a little over 10 minutes left to play. Nevertheless, Denver proved to be too much for the Red, as it scored the last four goals of the game to clinch the victory.

Sophomore Jessica Wiegrand led the way for Cornell with three goals, while Moore, Simmons, junior Noelle Dowd and senior Margaux Viola had two apiece. Despite being held scoreless, Farrell still had a big impact on the Red attack with a team-high five assists.

Though holding advantages over Denver in both draw controls and saves, Cornell was done in by an inability to control the ball resulting in 20 turnovers and just a 14-for-19 mark on clears.

That Achilles’ heel also hurt the Red against Penn, as the team was a disappointing nine for 15 clears which helped lead to the Quaker’s 27-16 advantage in shots.

“Those broken clears meant the offense didn’t get the ball as much and we had to play a lot of defense,” Graap said. “It was a repeated theme for us — it was the same thing against both Denver and Penn.”

After playing a sluggish first half, the Cornell seemed lucky to trail the Quakers by 8-3 at the break after a last-second Farrell goal closed out that first stanza.

“We need to have little bit more attitude coming into a game like that,” Graap said. “We have to expect to be ready to compete right at that first whistle — it takes a little bit more intensity and wee to improve that aspect.”

Cornell appeared to come to life at the beginning of the second-half, using a 5-2 rally to cut its deficit to 10-8 with over 17 minutes to play. However, that would be as close as the Red would come as Penn closed out the game with a 4-1 rally.

“We had some really great moments in our rally and comeback which felt good,” Graap said. “Still, its just that theme of starting off slowly which puts us in a hole early and forces us to constantly fight from behind.”

Farrell led the Red with three goals in the contest, while Moore matched her three points with two goals and an assist. Dowd also had a mult-point effort in the game for Cornell, recording 2 assists.

With three of its next four games at home – including next Saturday’s matchup against Princeton — the Red is looking forward to spending some time at home after its long road trip.

“Its good to be back in Ithaca,” Graap said. “A road trip like this tires you out. It’ll be nice to play at home.”