April 16, 2009

W. Lax Shows Growth In Loss to Syracuse

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Under the lights of the Carrier Dome, the women’s lacrosse team fought till the end with a second-half comeback that had the Orange just clinging on to a slim lead. Despite the Red’s five-goal scoring streak in the last 10 minutes of the game, Syracuse managed to pull through with an 11-8 win over Cornell last night.
“Of course it’s tough to loose, but it felt good to compete against a very talented Syracuse squad,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “We need to build on this and know that we can make a come back. … I hope that this shows us that with the right attitude and the right heart we can play against anybody.”
The No. 8 Orange (12-3, 5-1 Big East), averaging 15 goals per game, were kept to an uncharacteristic low of 11 goals and scored only three times in the second half. Freshman Katie Kirk, who has made significant contributions in the midfield this year, commented that strong defense has been one of the Red’s main goals this season.
[img_assist|nid=36885|title=Hitting the books|desc=Freshman Shannon McHugh played especially well in yesterday’s game against the Orange in Syracuse, N.Y. Underclassmen showed strength in the clutch against an experienced Syracuse.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“We did a great job on one vs. one defense and made sure that Syracuse was doubled in the eight [meter arc.]”
The No. 17 Red (7-5, 2-3 Ivy) also mixed up their defensive strategy with on-and-off face-guarding against Syracuse’s top scorers.
“We were pretty prepared going into the game. We knew what players to mark up against,” Kirk said.
While the Orange tried to throw Cornell off balance — frequently switching up players from the substitution box on transitions — the Red maintained its composure. For the first time in the season Cornell held a perfect record of 15-for-15 in clearing the ball down the field. In a great team effort, which caused Syracuse to turn over the ball 16 times.
Sophomore defensive midfielder Tissy O’Conner, who recorded five ground balls in the game, notched a goal that tied the game 2-2 in the first five minutes. However, following a hasty Syracuse time-out, the Orange answered back with a three-goal scoring streak that was finally halted by a goal from senior attacker Halsey Diakow.
In the first half the Orange held much of the control, capitalizing on fast offensive movement and disciplined execution of plays. At the back, Syracuse goalie Liz Hogan, first-team All-Northeast Region, came up with a total of 10 saves and played a huge role in limiting the Red’s offensive unit.
Although the game looked grim for Cornell, down 3-8 at halftime, it was far from over. Syracuse began the second half strong, scoring the first two goals, but would not hit the net again until the last two minutes of the game.
Sophomore attacker Libby Johnson, who recorded two goals and an assist, initiated the Red’s scoring run, cranking a shot from just inside the twelve-meter arc. Two minutes later, captain Deidre Lafferty streaked down past Syracuse defenders in a breakaway transition up the field and netted a high weak side shot.
With newly boosted moral, freshman midfielder Shannon McHugh continued the streak, weaving through doubles on the way to goal. Junior midfielder Lindsey Kane clinched another goal for the Red – off of a transition up the field by senior captain Jessica Wiegand – and McHugh scored one more time before Cornell’s run came to an end.
“I think we played very composed and did a great job of coming back when down in a hole…we kept it together and played like a team” Kirk said. “We got some tough calls” she added, referencing an end of the game goal by Wiegand, which was later recalled because of an alleged crease violation.
Despite the loss, the Red returns with a positive outlook, especially in regards to the rest of their season. Graap noted that the team has progressed a lot in terms of working for good shots, ball handling, and being more disciplined on offense. At this point in the season, “there aren’t really any young players on the team,” she said.
This Saturday Cornell looks to carry its higher level of play into its game against Ivy League opponent, Yale. “The dynamic on the team has really started to come together more and that has given us some strength” said Graap.