April 22, 2010

Women’s Lacrosse Falls to Syracuse; Plays Yale on Sunday at Schoellkopf

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The Cornell women gave it their all in Wednesday night’s Central New York showdown, but came up just short, 7-6, against a powerful Syracuse squad. Under the bright lights of Schoellkopf Stadium, the Red (4-8) held the Orange (10-4) to just seven goals, which is half of its 14 goal-per-game average this spring. Senior tri-captain Tissy O’Connor was a dominant force on both ends of the field, notching a goal, picking up five groundballs, causing two turnovers and winning a draw control. “While our senior game is on Sunday against Yale, playing against Syracuse under the lights on Schoellkopf in our second to last home game was truly memorable,” O’Connor said. “It’s the only night game of the season for us, and to play a home game with plenty of support in the stands was really special. It’s too bad we couldn’t have come up with the win because it had been such a team effort.” Cornell’s defensive unit starred in the back-and-forth contest. In the cage, sophomore goaltender Kyla Dambach kept off a number of Orange attacks toward the crease, recording nine saves in 60 minutes of play. Sophomore Cacki Helmer forced Syracuse to turn the ball over three times and collected five ground balls to meet O’Connor’s game-high effort. Seniors Lindsey Kane, Kaitlyn Giles and tri-captain Morgan Hale, along with freshman defender Kate Ivory, played integral roles for the defense that shut-out Syracuse’s top scorers Tee Ladouceur and Halley Quillinan, who have already racked up 30 and 31 goals, respectively, this season. “Syracuse has a high-paced offense with many threats,” O’Connor said. “We had some mark ups in our defensive end, but we were focused on playing strong team defense. We knew we were going to have to have solid communication and immediate defensive slides to limit Syracuse’s opportunities. Our unit ended up really supporting the on-ball defender and created situations where Syracuse had to work for every shot.” O’Connor was quick to credit the work ethic of several of her teammates for the Red’s strong appearance against its CNY rival. “Kyla Dambach was so solid between the pipes for us,” O’Connor said. “She had some amazing blocks, saves and clears. It’s always motivating when you know your last line of defense is going to do everything they can to stop a goal. Lindsey Kane is a great voice in our defensive end. Her vision and her communication are crucial in our games to keep the unit on the same page. Last, but not least, Cacki Helmer plays with such maturity, composure and speed. She has great knowledge of defense and her role in each and every play. I was thrilled for her to have such a strong performance against Syracuse.” Junior tri-captain Libby Johnson led the offense with two goals and an assist, while sophomores Jessi Steinberg and Katie Kirk each found the back of the net once in the heartbreaking loss. Freshman midfielder Lauren Halpern also contributed to the Red’s tally with one score off of a penalty shot. “We knew that Syracuse was the type of team that likes to play offense, so we wanted to counter that with possession time of our own,” Johnson said. “We tried not to force anything that wasn’t open and run our plays. In the first half, we had a couple of unforced turnovers, but in the second half we cleaned that up and did a better job of valuing each possession. We had possession of the ball in the last minute to tie it up, and we got two pretty good looks at the net but the first went wide and the second was saved by the goalie.” Syracuse jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the game with goals from Jackie Depetris and Michelle Tumolo. O’Connor was first to put the Red on the board with a free-position shot with 19:18 on the clock. A little over three minutes later, the Orange’s Christina Dove answered with an unassisted score. Both teams went scoreless for close to 10 minutes before Kirk’s rip, high and in the corner, broke the silence to narrow the Red’s deficit to one. Halpern, the rookie, tied the game by netting an eight-meter that she was awarded with just 30 seconds remaining in the low-scoring first half. Cornell headed to the locker room after evening the count at 3-3. Under 10 minutes into the second stanza, Syracuse struck again to go up by two. But Johnson’s two consecutive unassisted goals balanced the scorebook, 5-5. With 10:23 remaining, Steinberg’s one-on-one take and finish gave the Red a 6-5 advantage. Three minutes later, Syracuse’s Dove and Tegan Brown took back the lead. Cornell played hard up until the final whistle. Steinberg regained possession off a successful check of Orange goalie Liz Hogan with less than one minute to go to give the Red attack one last scoring opportunity. Johnson sent the ball wide on a desperate attempt to get off a shot as the clock winded down. Cornell hustled to get first to the ball with seven seconds left and returned it to Steinberg, whose late rally to push the Red into overtime was ended by a Hogan save at the buzzer.  Sunday afternoon, the Red will look forward to welcoming the Bulldogs to its home turf, where Cornell’s six-player senior class will be honored before the teams take the field for a 1 p.m. start.   “A win against Yale would secure our position in the first-ever Ivy League Tournament,” O’Connor said. “We pulled off a close win against Brown to keep our goal alive, but we don’t want it to come down to the final seconds of our competition against Yale. We want to compete to the best of our abilities for a full 60 minutes. I think Wednesday night’s game showed us how we can compete at a very high level, now it’s about taking it one step further and sealing a victory.”

Original Author: Jane Peters