March 30, 2009

Women’s Lacrosse Falls to No. 6 Princeton

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The women’s lacrosse team looked to put an end to No. 6 Princeton’s 22-game winning streak, and for the first 20 minutes on Saturday this vision was in sight. Despite the Tigers’ two early goals, the Red responded with a surprising dynamism that enabled it to match its opponents at four goals apiece. However, Cornell soon suffered a rude awakening. Following Princeton’s hasty timeout, the Tigers drew blood with five consecutive goals before the half, and never allowed the Red to come close for the rest of the game.
Although Cornell (5-3, 1-2 Ivy) battled to the end in a great team effort, it was unable to stay with the Tigers, who leave Ithaca with a 15-8 victory and their record, 7-1 (1-0 Ivy), intact.
“I think that a consistent theme with our team is that we are not answering back. We kind of just let them gain momentum,” said junior midfielder Lindsey Kane, who scored twice for the Red. “Loosing control of the game is definitely a mental aspect that we need to get a hold of.”
Statistically, Cornell won the draw control battle, 15-10, over the Tigers. Junior midfielder Tissy O’Conner, who came up with four draws, and freshman midfielder Katie Kirk, who won three, were both major players in the Red’s draw success. Cornell was also able to stay in close range of Princeton with groundballs, winning 14 compared to the Tigers’ 17.
“It’s just a matter of stringing together 60 minutes of competition,” said junior defensive midfielder Morgan Hale. “There were moments when we were in that game.”
Princeton’s win by seven goals certainly showed in the number of shots to the net: the Tigers had 32, compared to the Red with 15. Princeton also caused 22 turnovers for Cornell, while only giving up the ball seven times.[img_assist|nid=36360|title=Eye on the Tiger|desc=Junior midfielder Lindsey Kane had two goals in Cornell’s 15-8 loss to Princeton on Saturday. The 14th-ranked Red fell to 5-3 on the season.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Offensively, Princeton was able to capitalize on quick transitions up the field.
Rarely giving the Red defense a moment to relax, the Tigers were able to find defensive holes and score off of strong drives to the net; their speed also allowed them to frequently execute a numbers up attack.
Princeton senior midfielder Holly McGarvie scored four goals, matching her personal best. Despite high pressure from the Tigers, freshman goalie Kyla Dambach, who entered the game in the second half, recorded five saves of 11 shots.
Although the Red offense was unable to take advantage of a number of attack opportunities, it has seen improvement from previous games. Taking note of Cornell’s limited number of shots on goal, Kaner said that “our biggest problem is having constant motion on attack.”
She further commented that the offense could work on assessing the defense and using off-ball movement to allow for open lanes to goal. However, the future for Cornell attack looks bright.
“We started incorporating a new play that’s creating a lot more options and motion,” Kane said.
Senior captain Deirdre Lafferty was able to get things started for the Red five minutes into the game. In the first of the several times she would carry the ball up from the defense, Lafferty jetted past Princeton attempts to double the ball and was awarded a free position off of a foul and, soon after, buried her shot in the back of the net.
Sophomore attackers Libby Johnson and Claire Poza were able to nab two goals apiece. Johnson’s first was off of a free position; her second goal came off of a scuffle by the eight meter arc, in which Johnson was able to come up with the loose ball and clinch a goal that would tie the Red at 4-4.
In the second half, after three successive Princeton goals, Poza was able to maneuver around her defender by the left side of the crease and zip the ball past Ivy Defensive Player of the Week, sophomore goalie Erin Tochihara. She also clinched the last goal of the game off of a pass by Kirk with two minutes remaining.
Overall, the Red showed improvement from its recent games against Loyola (9-16) and Penn (2-24). In addition to draw controls, Cornell was able to execute a number of quality transitions up the field, often utilizing long passes to connect with teammates.
Also clutch in the transition were midfielders Lafferty, O’Conner and freshman midfielder Shannon McHugh, who were able to outrun the Tigers and successfully get the ball on offense.
“Coming out of this game, we thought the intensity was picked up from the previous two weeks … the loss in comparison felt different. We felt like we were finally playing together,” Hale said.