The women’s lacrosse team brought the intensity and confidence to its home turf this weekend, but the host team could never regain the lead after a five-goal Greyhound run in the middle of the first half. Cornell (2-3, 1-0 Ivy) came up short, 11-9, to No. 17 Loyola (4-3) on Saturday evening at Schoellkopf Field.
Despite winning the overall statistics in shots, 26-25, groundballs, 13-12 and draw controls, 13-9, the Red was unable to capitalize on the narrow advantage it held against the Greyhounds. Cornell was only successful in clearing the ball on 11 of 17 attempts and its strong defensive efforts that came from senior tri-captain Tissy O’Connor and sophomore defenseman Cacki Helmer were not enough to bring a halt to Loyola’s charges on the net.
“We were able to play a lot of solid defensive sets, but where we lost a lot of our momentum was in the clearing game,” Helmer said.
O’Conner forced three of Cornell’s 10 caused turnovers in the competition. Helmer marked up on Loyola’s leading threat and held her opponent to just two goals. Sophomore midfield Katie Kirk grabbed four draw controls and classmates Shannon McHugh and Jessi Steinberg won three and two draws, respectively. Sophomore
Goalkeeper Kyla Dambach notched six saves in her 38:16 minutes between the pipes for the Red. McHugh, Steinberg and Kirk contributed to the Red offense, each scoring a pair of goals. Junior tri-captain Libby Johnson earned three points on the day with one goal and two assists, as well as securing possession off of two draws in the closely-matched contest. With one goal apiece, sophomore attack Olivia Knotts and freshman Lauren Halpern added to the Red’s tally.
McHugh got the Red on the scoreboard first with a free-position goal three minutes into the game. Two minutes later, Kirk received a Johnson feed on a cut to goal and took her defender one-on-one for a high-placed shot to put the Red up, 2-0.
Greyhounds Decker, Gibson and Rehfuss took advantage of a three-goal run to give Loyola the one-up with 18:25 on the clock. The scoring streak didn’t end there as Rehfuss and Gibson both scored their second tallies of the game to increase the lead, 5-2.
“Loyola loves to push the ball in transition, so our ride really focused on slowing down their ball movement and getting our defense back into the eight-meter and marked up,” Helmer said. “As for Loyola’s ride, they were very adamant about putting high pressure on the ball and looking for us to make mistakes in our transition game. This was definitely a struggle for us.”
Kirk found the back of the net on a free position and Johnson brought the Red within one goal. Rehfuss scored unassisted once again for the Greyhounds, but freshman Lauren Halpern answered back for the Red with her own individual take to the cage. A Grace Gavin goal with 1:24 remaining brought Loyola up, 7-5, at the half. Kirk revealed the Red’s strategy for the game: “Our plan of attack was to first look for the fast and secondary break. If that wasn’t there we wanted to spread our offense out, move the ball quickly and have plenty of off ball movement in order to occupy our defenders.”
Steinberg and Knotts gave the Red a 3-1 edge in the first 10 minutes of the second stanza. Loyola responded immediately to break the tie as Decker went on to score 34 seconds later. Decker netted her second consecutive goal of the period and Gavin followed up on a free-position shot to make the score 11-8. With a little over 10 minutes to play, McHugh ended the scoring with a free-position that finalized the 11-9 outcome.
Original Author: Jane Peters