April 27, 2009

W. Lacrosse Closes Ivy Season with Loss

Print More

The women’s lacrosse team suffered a disappointing defeat Saturday afternoon on Schoelkopf field against Harvard. Six Cornell players found the back of the net in the first half, but the Crimson shutout the Red in the final 30 minutes of the 11-7 loss. After this weekend, Cornell (9-6, 3-4 Ivy) drops to No. 21 in the nation.
Despite out-hustling Harvard on the draw circle, 11-9, and with groundball pick-ups, 17-13, Cornell was unable to exploit its statistical edge. The Red turned the ball over 18 times to the Crimson, allowing Harvard to notch their second Ivy win of the season.
Junior defense-wing Tissy O’Connor led the Red in the midfield with four draw controls, two groundballs, and a caused turnover. O’Connor also netted a goal in the contest.
“Everyone has to show up to every game,” O’Connor said. “You have to want it…and Harvard really wanted it. But sometimes wanting it isn’t enough either. You have to play like you want it.”
“It wasn’t so much that Harvard beat us, but rather that we beat ourselves,” said senior co-captain Deirdre Lafferty, “The defense, midfield and offense all showed up at different times. Our game was really lopsided. When the D was on, the offense was off.”
[img_assist|nid=37232|title=Cut back|desc=Women’s lacrosse lost to Ancient Eight rival Harvard on Saturday afternoon on Schoelkopf field in its last Ivy League game of the season.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Crimson sophomore Jess Halpern put Harvard on the board first with an unassisted goal, but freshman midfielder Shannon McHugh answered for the Red with back-to-back free-position shots three minutes later. Halpern registered her 11th hat trick of the year by finding the back of the net two more times before senior co-captain Jess Wiegand evened the score with another 8-meter shot. Tied at three goals a piece in the middle of the first half, Harvard tallied five consecutive goals in less than five minutes to take the lead, 8-3.
Cornell was able to recover from the 5-0 run with four goals of its own before halftime. Sophomore center Libby Johnson, junior attacker Lindsey Kane and freshman attacker Olivia Knotts all added goals in the effort to help reduce the five-goal deficit.
“We did a nice job coming back in the first half,” O’Connor said. “However, in the second, we had trouble possessing the ball in the midfield. We played more defense than offense and turned over ball, while Harvard took care of it.”
A tough Harvard defense headed by goalie Katherine Martino, who notched eight saves, two groundballs and a caused turnover, limited the Red to just four shots in the second half and contained the Red down the stretch.
“In the second half, our defense made several stops, but we could not capitalize off of them,” Lafferty said. “From there, the game turned into a track meet.”
Both teams battled in a blistering 90 degree heat wave on the turf. The heat favored the Crimson’s strategy on offense, while the Red wore itself down running up and down the field.
“Harvard went into a possession attack and we had to play a lot of defense,” O’Connor said. “It was really hot, which made playing incredibly tiring. That kind of put the nail in the coffin. We definitely put ourselves at a disadvantage in the intense heat toward the end.”
“Deirdre left it all on the field,” O’Connor added. “She actually had heat exhaustion by the end of the game.”
The Red, which has faced its fair share of adversity this season, could not afford to shorten its roster any further. With four players sidelined due to injury and a couple of others fighting through pain, Cornell has had to rely on the depth provided by the underclassmen for the last few weeks.
Throughout its Ivy finale, the Red was called for 31 fouls, a team high this season. The officials also blew the whistle on Harvard 23 times and gave the Crimson four yellow cards.
“We had a lot of fouls in the midfield, which disrupted our ride,” Johnson said.
“The midfield made uncharacteristic mistakes and our experienced defensive transition broke down,” added Lafferty, “Small errors just piled up and it began to show on the scoreboard.”
Halpern’s fourth goal at 12:33 in the second half and an assist made her the offensive leader for the Crimson. The Crimson held the lead, 9-7, before going on a three-goal streak to win the game, 11-7.
“We knew that Jess Halpern was going to be a threat,” O’Connor said. “The defense was caught on its heals and our communication was not as good as it usually is.”
In the cage, junior goalkeeper Kristen Reese recorded six saves for the Red and allowed 11 goals in the first 45 minutes of the game. Freshman Kyla Dambach came in with 14 minutes left to play and kept the Crimson scoreless until the final buzzer.
“We only let them have three goals in the second half, which is pretty respectable, but we didn’t produce anything on offense,” O’Connor said. “We didn’t play the game we know that we can play. Saturday’s contest was drastically different from the game we played against Vanderbilt on Tuesday.”
“We may have overlooked Harvard following such a strong performance against Vanderbilt,” said Johnson, “We also thought that Harvard would play a zone, but it turns out that they didn’t.”
O’Connor remains optimistic that young Red team will rebound after the unfortunate outing.
“We have one more game at home,” O’Connor said. “After a hard week of practice, we should be prepared for Notre Dame. With next Saturday being Senior Day, I expect that we will all bring more energy.”