The Cornell women’s lacrosse team (1-1, 0-0 Ivy League) defeated rival Colgate (2-2) on Wednesday in a close game, 15-14. It was the second game of the season and the first win for this year’s squad, which is now looking forward to its next game tomorrow against Harvard.“[Colgate] turned it into a very exciting game,” said senior tri-captain Libby Johnson.Much of the first half consisted of the two teams swapping points back and forth, with Libby Johnson, junior captain Jessi Steinberg and junior Katie Kirk all scoring goals for the Red. The sixth Cornell goal was an impressive take by Steinberg, but Colgate was able to counter with two goals. After Johnson scored the seventh point for the team, Colgate answered with a strong offensive attack, but a great save by junior goalie Kyla Dambach kept Cornell in the lead. “Kyla had a great game,” said junior tri-captain Caroline Helmer. “She had some unbelievable saves that really helped us put us forward to the attack.” Steinberg then contributed once more to the tally, bringing the half to a finish with an 8-5 Red lead. The team came out strong in the beginning of the second half, adding another two points; however, a defensive slip let Colgate come back once more with two points in a row. “Olivia scored a goal that would have given us a three-goal lead, but we were outside and Colgate took it back with a breakaway,” Johnson said. In the last few minutes the game was tied, 13-13, and it became clear the contest would be a battle until the end.“We had hoped to come out with much wider margin of a victory,” Helmer said. “We were kind of sloppy, but we pulled together as a unit and finished the game strong.”Johnson scored Cornell’s crucial 14th point unassisted. Minutes later, junior midfielder Shannon McHugh contributed the game-winning goal, and the team then held on to the lead.“[The goal] boosted our confidence,” Helmer said.Colgate managed to score once more at the very end of the game, but ultimately Cornell came away with the win.“It feels great to have our first win of 2011,” said head coach Jenny Graap. “Lots of credit goes to Johnson, who played with great passion and intensity.”Johnson certainly put forth a strong effort, notching a career-high seven points for the Red, and the most goals scored in a game for the team since 2003.“Every game I’m looking to improve,” Johnson said. “I just happened to get a lot of looks, every game is different.”The Red was coming off a loss to Rutgers in the first game of the season. “We didn’t like the feeling of losing, so we did whatever it took not to have that feeling again,” said Helmer.With the rest of the season ahead of the Red, the team can now look forward to continual improvement.“We improved on the draw control [in the Colgate game], something we haven’t been very good at,” Johnson explained. “It was something we were looking to improve and we finally came out in that area. Now we’re looking to improve on transitions from defense to offense, and slowing down the other team on fast breaks.”“By the end of the season we want to be a solid unit, with all the kinks worked out so we’re ready to go,” Helmer added. This Saturday the team will play its first Ivy League game against Harvard. The last time the two teams faced, in 2010, Harvard came away with a 10-4 victory.“We expect to play. …with an intensity we haven’t seen in the other games,” Johnson said. “It’s important to set the tone early for the Ivy League season.”Cornell will face the Crimson at 1 p.m. on Schoellkopf Field.
Original Author: Rebecca Velez