March 25, 2008

Women’s Lacrosse Loses Offensive Groove, Drops Three

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After storming out to a perfect 4-0 start on the season, the women’s lacrosse team came crashing back down to earth with three losses in the past week. The Red traveled to Tennessee and suffered defeats to Vanderbilt and New Hampshire, 15-6 and 10-9 respectively, before returning to Ithaca and falling to Ivy rival Penn, 7-6.
Cornell (4-3, 1-1 Ivy) blitzed to a quick 2-0 lead against Vanderbilt off of goals from sophomore attacker Kathryn Dewey and senior midfielder Katherine Simmons. Simmons finished with three goals and senior attacker Courtney Farrell was held to one goal and one assist.
“We played a lot tougher defenses that put a lot of pressure on our attack so naturally we had fewer chances,” Simmons said. “The Vanderbilt game, we just weren’t ready to play the game that we needed to play.”
Senior attacker Charlotte Schmidlapp agreed that the Red was unprepared for the game against Vanderbilt.
“We just completely didn’t show up to play, it was almost like a different team,” Schmidlapp said. “We just weren’t very focused. We didn’t play as a team and Vanderbilt did.”
Vanderbilt led but didn’t dominate in every statistical category except the one that mattered, the score. The Commodores outshot the Red 30-22, won 13-of-23 draw controls and forced 21 ground balls compared to Cornell’s 14. One statistic that stood out was the Red’s futility in free-position shots. It failed to capitalize on three opportunities, while Vanderbilt made 3-of-5 from the free-position, led by Margie Curran’s 2-of-3.[img_assist|nid=29090|title=Friendly faces|desc=Senior attacker Charlotte Schmidlapp (23) glances past defenders during the Red’s win over Columbia. Cornell dropped all of its games over the break.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“We always need to capitalize on our free-positions,” Simmons said. “They’re basically free shots on the net and you don’t see that in many other sports.”
In the Red’s second game in Tennessee, it faced New Hampshire for another non-conference matchup. The teams traded goals for the first half to enter intermission tied at 5. The Wildcats blasted three straight goals past the Red to kick off the second half, but the Red rebounded with two of its own and the teams found themselves tied at 9 with 5:53 to go. Both squads fought fiercely on defense, but New Hampshire’s Sarah von Bergen managed to find the back of Cornell’s net with just 30 seconds left in the game to give the Wildcats the victory.
“It’s really devastating when the other team scores with 30 seconds left especially when it’s a game-winning goal,” Simmons said. “It’s a blow but it kind of makes you really want to win the draw control even more.”
Despite the heartbreaker against New Hampshire, the Red came out strong at home against the Quakers. Farrell, freshman Libby Johnson, Dewey and junior midfielder Jessica Wiegand scored in the first half to put Cornell up 4-2 at halftime. But Penn stormed back after the break with five goals that put the Quakers on top, 7-5, a goal from senior midfielder Noelle Dowd being the only interruption to the run.
“They started beating us in the draw control, then we’d play good defense for five minutes straight,” Simmons said. “We’d put the pressure on and force them to make errors, and then we couldn’t come up with the ground ball. So they weren’t perfect, we were playing really good defense, we just couldn’t get the ball out of the defensive end [of the field].”
Simmons scored a goal with 4:02 left in the contest to draw the Red to within one, but Penn’s defense held on for the win.
During the three-game week, the Red suffered its first losses of the season, but gained some valuable perspective.
“We learned a lot about what we need to bring to win those games,” Schmidlapp said. “…We’re ready to keep working and learn from the losses, just move forward.”