April 23, 2007

W. Lax Blows Early Lead to Yale

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The No. 12 Bulldogs proved too fierce on Saturday, as they defeated the women’s lacrosse team, 13-8, at Johnson Field to earn their ninth straight win. The Red put up an intense, solid effort, but the momentum of an eight-game winning streak and the promise of a bid to the NCAA tournament for Yale (13-3, 6-1 Ivy) was more than the Red could surpass.
“Saturday was their Senior Day and the last regular game for their squad. Having beaten both Princeton and Dartmouth, [Yale] needed a win over Cornell to put them in the strongest position for an at large NCAA bid,” said head coach Jenny Graap ‘86. “Yale’s only conference loss was to undefeated UPenn who sealed the Ivy League automatic bid on Saturday by defeating Brown.”
In the first 10 minutes of play, it seemed that the Bulldogs were buckling under the pressure as the Red (3-9, 2-4) leaped out to a fast 3-1 lead. Junior Noelle Dowd drew first blood with an unassisted goal within the first two minutes of play. About a minute later, junior Katherine Simmons raised the tally to two goals with another unassisted goal. Unfortunately, just under six minutes into the first half, the Yale attack woke up and scored its first goal. Undaunted, junior Courtney Farrell scored to give Cornell the 3-1 lead.
However, the Bulldogs sensed their territory being threatened and thundered back with four consecutive goals, taking a 5-3 lead. Senior Margaux Viola put a ball in the back of the net to narrow the gap to one goal but Yale managed to put two more past senior goalie Mary Montague to end the half with a 7-4 lead.
“We couldn’t seem to get the ball around their goal keeper,” Graap said. “She had 15 saves on the day and also came up with a few key ground balls. She made some point-blank stops and definitely frustrated our attackers. Cornell outshot Yale in the game, but our shooting percentage was sub-par and that proved costly.”
In the second half, Dowd started the scoring right away with an unassisted goal at a mere 39 seconds in. The Red defense held off the Bulldogs for the next five minutes of play until Yale went on another four goal scoring streak achieving a commanding 11-5 lead. Refusing to go down without a fight, Simmons scored a goal assisted by Farrell with 3:27 to go in the game. Farrell’s assist earned her the third place spot on Cornell’s school career assist list. In an exciting last minute of play, Yale scored two goals and was about to walk out with a 13-6 win, but sophomore Jessica Wiegand scored two more unassisted goals, one with only one second to go, to make the final score 13-8 in favor of the opponent.
“We still need to take care of the important details: not going off-sides, not jumping early on the whistle, not letting our opponent go on a multiple goal runs without Cornell answering back; not allowing goals to be scored against us in the closing seconds of either half, not allowing the officiating to effect us.” Graap said.
Despite a hard fought battle, the Red fell just five goals short in its second to last Ivy League contest of the regular season. Graap will make sure the girls will keep this close game in mind as they take on Harvard, their final Ivy League opponent, next weekend.
“Yet again we find ourselves realizing at the end of the contest that we can play with a top ranked team like Yale, but we’re still falling short of earning a victory over a top team,” Graap said. “As a team we are still learning, and with continued hard work and discipline, the Big Red is looking to toughen up and take care of business in the next two weeks.”