March 25, 2009

W. Lacrosse Drops Two Over Break

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The women’s lacrosse team (5-2, 1-1 Ivy) broke its early season winning steak over Spring Break. While on the road for most of the break the Red dropped two of its three matches, beating Columbia before losing to Loyola and Penn.
“We lost two in a row and in similar fashion … but the teams were definitely different. Penn was supremely talented all over the field, and Ivy League is always a big focus for us,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “It hurt that we weren’t playing more strongly.”
In its first Ivy League game of the season, the Red came out on the field against the Lions ready to deliver and demonstrate the strength of its young, dynamic team. Cornell went on to secure its first conference win, 11-8. Aiding the Red, freshman Shannon McHugh recorded a hat trick, and four other players scored two goals each.[img_assist|nid=36227|title=Lone wolf|desc=Junior forward Kate Dewey, attacking the net during a March 11 game against Le Moyne, scored three goals against Loyola.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
With its first victory in tow, Cornell traveled to No. 20 Loyola (7-1), hoping to pick up an additional win. The Greyhounds had other plans for the Red, however, as they posed a challenge from the start. Gaining an advantage from the onset, Loyola went into halftime leading, 11-2, with Cornell utilizing every attempt to capture a goal.
“I thought the competition was excellent. Our midweek game at Loyola was very challenging. I think we found ourselves playing against a team that was scrappy and hungry to knock us off,” Graap said. “They were very fast and explosive on the attacking end, so they were a difficult team for us to defend.
“Loyola is a talented team. They dominated draw control and their offense dominated possession times. It’s a great winning formula. It’s what every team is trying to do –– get the ball at the draw, and then play a lot of offense. They executed really well,” Graap added.
Offensively for the Red, junior Kate Dewey and freshman Shannon McHugh each netted three goals. Despite the attacking presence towards the end, the Red lost, 16-9.
“We did play a better second half, but by that point, we had already dug ourselves a hole, so it’s hard to mount a comeback of that magnitude,” Graap said. “We learned a pretty big lesson that we can’t give up so many goals because we can’t recover from that.”
Hoping to put the loss in the past and regain momentum, Cornell continued its road trip to No. 3 Penn (6-0, 2-0 Ivy) and proceeded with conference play. Going into the game, the Red knew that this would be one of its toughest matches, since the Quakers went as far as a national championship game last year, after winning 16 consecutive conference games.
“We had a limited time to recover from the Loyola loss. We didn’t dwell on it, but we wanted to learn from it,” Graap said. “We are still learning from all the games of this season. but Loyola presented a challenge of learning from a loss. You can’t feel sorry for yourself … strap it back up and work a little harder.”
From the getgo, Penn utilized its attackers to the best of its ability by outshooting Cornell and leading in ground balls and draw controls. Competing against a team with such an offensive drive, the Red was mostly working defensively during the game, thereby foregoing scoring opportunities. At the start of the second half, the Red still hadn’t found a tally on the scoreboard, trailing by a score of 10-0. Finally, with a little over 40 minutes into the game, Dewey and senior Jessica Wiegand each found the net, for a final score of 14-2.
“We did work harder against Penn, but we found ourselves against a very talented team that was very confident,” Graap said. “We repeated the formula of allowing the other team to dominate the draw and possession time, which allowed them to score in succession, and we were not able to answer back.”
Not dwelling on its recent two losses, the Red is looking to learn from its mistakes and improve its strategy for the remainder of the season.
“We really need to regroup this week and not the let the mental side get us so down and lose our game plan just because we are down by a few goals,” Graap said. “We need to stay strong and realize that it’s a fast paced game, and we can come back.”