April 2, 2007

Princeton Downs W. Lax

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Cornell picked one of the nicest days of the year so far for a rather ugly women’s lacrosse game against Princeton on Saturday at Shoellkopf Field. The Tigers won easily, beating the Red, 18-9 in a sloppy contest for both teams.

Cornell (2-6, 2-1 Ivy) went into the game hoping to gain back some ground in the Ivy League. This year, Princeton (4-3, 1-0) is ranked ninth in the nation. There is a storied history between the two teams, as they shared the Ivy title last year, but Cornell has been unable to beat the Tigers at home in over a decade.

[img_assist|nid=22419|title=Peanuts and Cracker Jacks|desc=Senior Jim Hyland pitched a two-hit complete game shut out in a 5-0 win against Yale in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday.|link=node|align=left|width=69|height=100]

“The loss was to a very skilled and talented team,” said Cornell head coach Jenny Graap. “Cornell is still struggling to find a formula to win.”

The Tigers opened the game ferociously and ran up an 8-0 lead on Cornell in the first half. In the first 15 minutes of play, Princeton out-shot Cornell, 15-9, and held the advantage overall, 33-26.

In what has become an unfortunate pattern for the Red, draw control also favored Cornell’s opponents, with the Tigers holding a significant 19-10 advantage.

Graap said that in practice the team would be putting an emphasis on some of the smaller details of the game, such as draw controls, in an effort to get back on track.

“The day-to-day elements really need to be the focus for us,” she said.

Cornell didn’t get on the board until senior midfielder Margaux Viola found the back of the net with less than 3 minutes left in the half. Viola’s goal was followed 14 seconds later by a goal from junior attacker Charlotte Schmidlapp, making the halftime score 8-2.

Four Red players had multi-point afternoons, with junior midfielder Katherine Simmons leading the team with two goals, an assist and three caused-turnovers. Viola scored two goals, as did Schmidlapp.

Cornell continued its momentum into the beginning of the second half, where it scored three of the first four goals, rattling the Tigers and forcing them to call a timeout in an effort to disrupt the Red’s rhythm — which it did. Princeton then surged back, scoring five of the next six goals and tightening what became its choke hold on the game.

With less then 6 minutes left in the game, the Tigers held their biggest lead of the match, 17-8. Junior attacker Courtney Farrel scored the last goal for Cornell as the clock ticked down under 5 minutes.

There were a total of 46 turnovers in the game, as well as 25 fouls — statistics that hurt Cornell more than they did Princeton.

The Red finds itself at the midway point of the season in a different position than they had envisioned before games began.

“We obviously have to keep working hard,” Graap said. “We have to stay positive, here’s still a ton of lacrosse to be played. We’re just trying to keep after it.”

As far as the emotional outlook of the team, Graap said that the early losses had been difficult, especially because expectations at the beginning of the season were very high.

“Realistically, we need to get back to going one game at a time, one practice at a time,” she said.