After an impressive comeback in the second half and a fierce battle for the win that stretched into a fourth overtime, the women’s lacrosse team ultimately prevailed over Rutgers on Saturday, clinching an 8-7 victory after nearly 70 minutes of play.
“It was a complete team win and everybody pulled together to come back. We played like a team to pull it off,” said freshman midfielder Katie Kirk.
The Scarlet Knights (1-1) took the lead early in the game, starting off with a string of four goals in the first 15 minutes of play, three coming in the first five minutes. Rutgers player Brooke Cantwell scored two unassisted goals, and her teammate Nina Frankoski netted the other two.
Rutgers was a tough opponent to face, as the Scarlet Knights seemed determined to win from the start with the added motivation of leftover grudges stemming from last year’s 2-0 loss to the Red.
“They exploited their athleticism, they had a few girls that were pretty big and they had a game plan and they stuck with it,” sophomore defender Cara Grealy said. “They wanted to get some revenge from last year. It was a close game with them.”
They wanted to come out and win and they came out ready to play and ready to win at the first whistle. They just really stuck with their game plan, and we had to figure out a way to interrupt that.”
After taking a timeout to regroup, the Red came back with a renewed energy and scored two goals within a span of 35 seconds. The first of these was a free position shot from freshman middle Shannon McHugh and the next was a goal from senior attacker Halsey Diakow, assisted by freshman attacker Jessi Steinberg.
Rutgers scored again just a few minutes after Cornell’s two goals to maintain a solid 5-2 lead going into the break.
The break was beneficial for the Red, however, as the team used its time to prepare for a major comeback in the second half.
“In the beginning, we kind of dug ourselves a hole,” Grealy said. “We weren’t playing well at all and after the half time we realized that we only had 30 minutes left to play. We really needed to win the game and we had to try and figure out a way to win … We had to figure out a way to start scoring goals and giving our defense a break. Also, we had to start winning the ground controls. Everyone on the team knew that they had to do something to pull out this win.”
The team’s leaders were vital in helping their team pull together and challenge Rutgers’ lead when the team stepped back onto the field.
“Our captains showed tremendous leadership and they sort of put everybody on the same page. We all just followed our game plan and pulled off the win together,” Kirk said.
Both teams traded goals back and forth for the first 13 minutes of the second half, with each team scoring twice. The Red’s goals were netted by junior middle Lindsey Kane and Steinberg.
After this exchange of goals with the Scarlet Knights, the Red rallied for the lead and put three more points on the scoreboard in the second half to bring the game to a 7-7 tie.
Cornell’s defensive line stayed alert and didn’t let another Rutgers goal attempt materialize for the remainder of the game.
Steinberg scored her second goal of the game about halfway through the second half, which became the start of a game-saving string of three Cornell goals. Junior attacker Kate Dewey then scored an unassisted goal with about eight minutes to go in the half.
Senior midfielder Jessica Wiegand delivered the game-tying goal with just over a minute and a half to go in the game, bringing the score to 7-7 and forcing the two teams into overtime play.
In the first three overtime periods, the two teams struggled to score a game-winner that would decide the match, but each team was scoreless.
“We were just focused on playing together and just holding Rutgers to where they were and just playing our game and getting the ball and just possessing the ball,” Kirk said of the team’s main objective going into the overtime periods.
Cornell outshot Rutgers throughout the game, creating 24 shots on goal to the Scarlet Knights’ 17. During the overtime periods, the Red was strong offensively with six goal attempts.
In the fourth sudden-death overtime, Cornell came out on top, when a goal from Kirk, scored with just over two minutes remaining, earned Cornell the 8-7 victory over Rutgers.
“In the end, it really showed our resiliency and never-give-up mentality that came at the wire. In the end we were able to tie it up and keep fighting in three overtimes, and somehow we were able to pull out the win,” Grealy said.