April 9, 2007

M.Lax Rolls Over Harvard; Green Downs W. Lax

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Despite a quick start and strong finish, the women’s lacrosse team still endured its fourth-straight defeat, losing to No. 16 Dartmouth this weekend as the Green used a 12-1 run throughout the middle part of the contest to pull out a 14-9 victory.
“We started strongly for maybe really the first time this year,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “Dartmouth just had a strong comeback and took the lead, and we couldn’t catch them.”
With three goals in the first 15:51 of the game, junior Noelle Dowd sparked Cornell to an early 5-1 lead.
However, it would be all Dartmouth for the rest of the first half as the Green scored six consecutive goals to close out the period with a 7-5 advantage.
Though the Red struck first in the second half with a quick goal by sophomore Jessica Wiegand, Dartmouth managed to swing the momentum back in its direction, again ripping off six consecutive goals to take a commanding 13-6 lead with 11 minutes to play in the match.
“They were just dominating us on the draw and picking apart our defense,” Graap said. “We also took shots during that time, but they were not great shots.”
Cornell cut the lead to five, 13-8, after senior Lindsey Moore scored two goals in 12 seconds with a little over seven minutes remaining in the contest. Nevertheless, the Red would not come any closer to overcoming the deficit.
Dowd led Cornell with four total points, while Wiegand and Moore also had multi-goal games for the Red with two scores apiece. Junior Katherine Simmons led the squad with two assists and four ground balls.
Meanwhile — though tightly guarded by Dartmouth throughout the contest — junior Courtney Farrell, Cornell’s leading scorer, tallied a goal late in the game to notch her 35th point of the season.
“They face-guarded Farrell and denied her the ball during the entire game,” Graap said. “We’ve seen a lot of teams adopt that strategy — it’s a factor for our offense but not the only one. … We have seven attackers in our offensive unit. If the other team concentrates on one of our players, the other six will have to step up. It takes a team effort.”
On the other side of the field, Dartmouth was led by the impressive efforts of junior Kristen Barry and senior Jen Pittman. Barry led the Green with seven points and six goals, while Pittman pitched in three assists and five total points.
Pittman also played a major role in setting the tone of the game, dominating her Cornell counterparts by winning 20-of-25 face-offs. For the game, Dartmouth enjoyed a 15-10 advantage in draw controls, allowing the Green more opportunities on the attack.
“There was a definite advantage for Dartmouth in number of possessions,” Graap said. “That, plus their advantage in saves, made the difference in the game.”
Dartmouth goaltender Julie Wadland made 10 saves on 19 shots on goal, while Cornell net-minder Renee Hughes stopped six-of-20 shots put on her.
Though the loss puts the Red five games under .500, six of its seven losses on the season have come against teams ranked in the top-20. Now, with seven games remaining, including three Ivy contests, Cornell still has plenty of opportunity to make some noise this season.
“The Ivy League is very competitive this season. It’s exciting to see the league so strong, but it definitely makes things challenging,” Graap said. “We’re just hoping to continue to improve and mature.”