April 17, 2011

Offense Keys Red to Victory Over Bears

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After numerous disappointing conference defeats, the women’s lacrosse team is beginning to turn around its season. After  a crucial win over Brown (5-7, 1-4 Ivy League) at Schoellkopf field on Saturday, 14-7, the Red (4-7, 2-4)  now has a chance to reach the .500 mark if it wins the final three games of the regular season.Cornell kicked off the first period strong, with two goals in the first five minutes of play from sophomore attacker Caroline Salisbury and junior tri-captain and attacker Jessi Steinberg. Brown’s sophomore midfielder Tara Rooke answered with a goal quickly after, but senior tri-captain and midfielder Libby Johnson scored unassisted a minute later to extend the Cornell lead back to two. The next 10 minutes of the game consisted of back-and-forth goal scoring by both teams, until junior attacker Olivia Knotts started an offensive rally that was continued by junior midfielder Shannon McHugh with one minute left in the period. Offensive star Steinberg was able to find the back of the net for a second time with only five seconds remaining in the period, giving the Red the lead going into the second period, 7-3.“We knew that their attackers were very balanced, and fortunately we were able to play them all pretty well and … keep their high scores to a low,” said junior tri-captain and defender Caroline Helmer.Right off the bat, 15 seconds into the second period, junior midfielder Katie Kirk registered a goal, followed by subsequent points from Johnson and Steinberg. Though Brown dominated the offensive for the next stretch of game play, including two goals by senior midfielder Paris Waterman, the Red did not allow the Bears to inch their way up to victory. Instead, McHugh got an unassisted goal, followed by points from Steinberg and junior attacker Shannon Tierney.Brown’s greatest offensive threat, junior attacker Kaela McGilloway, was able to register a goal with less than five minutes remaining in the game; however, Kirk negated that score when she found the back of the net once again to secure the Ivy League victory for Cornell.The Red’s junior goalkeeper Kyla Dambach played the entire game between the pipes, making nine saves over the course of the afternoon. Her teammates assert that her effort in goal was a large contributing factor to the Red’s success.“Attack in general had a good game, and scoring was balanced. Kyla Dambach kept the momentum going,” Helmer said.On the Bears’ side of the field, junior Isabel Harvey defended the goal for the majority of the game. But after allowing 12 goals, Harvey gave up the goal to senior Maggie Suprey for the final 8:15.Aside from Dambach’s impressive performance in goal, the Red’s victory derived from a hugely successful defensive strategy.“We actually decided to safeguard their leading scorer, and [senior defender] Cara Grealy held her to zero points,” McHugh said.And as usual, Steinberg contributed immensely to Cornell’s offensive threat.“Jessi Steinberg did another great job on the attack,” McHugh noted.This was an essential win for the Red because finishing the season on a high note now seems more possible than it did only a few weeks ago.“Since we were a little discouraged, it was great to come out strong as a team and to beat Brown,” McHugh said.The Red still has three more games to look forward to before the regular season draws to a close, with road matchups against Yale and Syracuse before the final home game of the season against Florida.“[This win] definitely feels good going into the last stretch of our season … but the next few games are really pivotal for the next season,” Helmer said.

Original Author: Alane Trafford