April 3, 2011

Postseason Hopes Dwindle as Comeback Falls Short

Print More

The women’s lacrosse team (3-6, 1-3 Ivy League) fell to another Ancient Eight foe on Saturday after enduring a very difficult first period, 15-10. No. 12 Princeton (5-3, 2-0) presented what proved to be an insurmountable challenge for the Red at Schoellkopf Field.

The first period started off poorly for Cornell, with Princeton connecting on goals on shots by midfielder Sarah Lloyd and attacker Lizzy Drumm within the first few minutes of action. Though junior attacker and tri-captain Jessi Steinberg was able to answer with a free position goal, Princeton’s Drumm quickly responded with yet another score of her own.

The Red’s junior midfield standouts Katie Kirk and Shannon McHugh contributed the next two goals to tie things up, 3-3; however, from that point forward things went downhill for Cornell. Princeton proceeded to find the back of the net six times with no response from the home team, ending the first period with the lead, 9-3. Princeton, Lloyd, Drumm and midfielder Cassie Pyle contributed two goals apiece, creating a hole from which Cornell could not possibly dig out.

Kirk admitted that the first period was extremely difficult to recover from, when the Red was unable to put enough pressure on the Tigers.

“We did not come out strong … We sort of let them go on a run in the first half. Princeton likes to push the fast break, and so they definitely had control of the draw,” Kirk said.

Sophomore midfielder Kelly Lang suggests that the Red’s difficulties in the first period stem from Princeton’s variety of strong players.

“The difference between the teams was that when we had mark-ups on [Princeton’s] main girls, the other attackers stepped up and scored big for them. Our problem is that we had a couple of key players on attack who are consistent in every game, but it’s the other players … who need to start becoming more of a threat,” Lang said.

Less than a minute into the second period, Princeton’s Jenna Davis scored, upping the Red’s handicap to seven goals; however, sophomore defenseman Kate Ivory was able to net a goal and kick start a Cornell-dominated series for her first point of the season. Following Ivory’s goal, Steinberg was able to put her second goal of the game into the net. Feeding off her teammates’ momentum, senior attacker and tri-captain Libby Johnson scored a goal of her own just a minute later unassisted. Junior attacker Shannon Tierney capped the Red’s scoring streak with 18 minutes remaining in the game.

In addition to the improved offensive efforts, the Red’s defensive unit also started putting more pressure on the Tigers offense in the second half.

“Kate Ivory and Caroline Helmer both had great games on the defensive end. Katie Kirk and Shannon McHugh played awesome in transition,” Steinberg said.

Though the Red was able to slowly inch its way up to lessen its deficit, Princeton shut down this series with yet another goal from Lloyd.

Though the remainder of the game consisted of a constant back and forth between the Ivy League foes, including a second period in which Cornell scored more goals in the than its challenger, Princeton still came out on top, 15-10.

Steinberg suggests that despite the outcome of the game, the Red has many positives to take from its game play.

“I think it’s a little frustrating that we keep coming out so flat, but it’s nice to see that we can come back even when we’re down that many goals,” said Steinberg.

Junior Kyla Dambach and sophomore Courtney Gallagher split time in goal, with each logging 30 minutes of playing time. While in goal, Dambach was able to register two saves while allowing nine goals; Gallagher allowed the other six Princeton scores.

According to Kirk, the outcome of this game puts a lot of pressure on the Red to win its next game, which is against another conference rival.

“We are definitely working on the mental part of the game. Going into Dartmouth, we have to win to go into the postseason Ivy League tournament,” she said.

Though the season is well under way, the Red is still taking every opportunity it can to learn and improve.

“We are learning to come out strong in the beginning, [so that] we are not putting ourselves in the position of having to fight for the lead,” Kirk added.

Original Author: Alane Trafford