April 24, 2011

Ivy Season Comes to Close After Blowout Road Win Over Bulldogs

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The women’s lacrosse team (5-7, 3-4 Ivy League) is finally picking up some conference momentum, following a crushing defeat of Ivy League foe Yale (2-11, 0-6) on Saturday at Reese Stadium in New Haven, Conn., 14-3.

Yale kicked off the scoring with an unassisted goal by Adrienne Tarver less than a minute into the game; however, Cornell dominated the remainder of the first period. Following a missed shot by Yale, junior midfielder Shannon McHugh picked up a ground ball and soon after junior attacker Olivia Knotts found the back of the net. Less than a minute later, junior attacker and tri-captain Jessi Steinberg put a shot on goal, only to see the chance saved by Yale’s Whitney Quackenbush. After a ground ball pick-up by junior Katie Kirk, Steinberg was able to find the back of the opposing net for a goal.

Quickly following that score, McHugh registered a free position shot. Steinberg then added two subsequent scores, with each goal coming unassisted. Yale earned the draw control following Steinberg’s third goal; however the Red’s scoring leader was quickly able to turn over the ball. After several back-and-forth possessions, McHugh logged another free position goal, and the period concluded with goals by Steinberg, sophomore attacker Caroline Salisbury and sophomore midfielder Kelly Lang.

According to head coach Jenny Graap, Cornell played as many players as it could, with the hope of getting some fresh faces on the field.

“[The] game against Yale was a total team effort,” she noted. “We were able to get every healthy player into the game. We were thrilled to have contributions from so many players … This was the first game this year that we were able to do that.”

Going into the second period with a convincing lead, 9-1, the Red switched goalkeepers, inserting sophomore Courtney Gallagher in for junior starter Kyla Dambach. The period started off strong with a draw control by McHugh, but from there it became a constant struggle for possession. Nobody found the back of the net until Kirk netted a score seven minutes into the period.

After several Cornell shots, Yale’s Augusta Hixon was assessed a foul and McHugh scored yet another free position goal. Freshman midfielder Amanda D’Amico scored her first goal of the season shortly after McHugh’s tally, with a little over 12 minutes remaining in the game. Only one minute later sophomore attacker Veronica Lizzio was able to join her teammates on the scoreboard with her first goal of the season.

After several minutes without a Yale goal, Tarver was able to score her second of the game following a couple of Cornell fouls and the opportunity for a free position shot. Yale’s next goal was also accounted for by Tarver with three minutes remaining in the game; however, this comeback was short lived, as sophomore midfielder Morgan Axenfeld was able to score her first goal of the season and the last goal of the game to close things out, 14-3.

Graap noted that this game was very important for the Red because it gave the team a huge morale boost and the opportunity for everyone on the roster to receive playing time.

“The focus was really on everyone, just sharing the pride among the entire team,” Graap said.

According to Steinberg, the Red accomplished all of its goals in the win over Yale.

“We wanted to hold them under five goals,” she said. “It feels good to set a goal and get there, and to [know that we can] achieve something we put our minds to.”

The Red’s next challenge will be against Central New York rival Syracuse (7-7), a team that will undoubtedly pose a threat to the Cornell squad. This showdown will occur tomorrow at 7 p.m., at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y. The Orange will take on the Red with the home-field advantage, already riding the wave of a two-game winning streak.

Led in points by sophomore attacker Michelle Tumolo and senior attacker Tee Ladouceur, Syracuse has an impressive average of 11.71 goals per game, compared to Cornell’s 9.33 average.

The Red has been featuring Dambach between the pipes for most of this season, who will likely match up against Orange starting goalkeeper Liz Hogan. In 13 contests Hogan boasts a .468 save-percentage.

Historically, the Red has struggled against the Orange. Last year, the Red fell to Syracuse in a close fight, 7-6. Despite the recent difficulties against Syracuse, Graap noted that her squad always gives its rivals a tough fight in this annual color war.

“Our senior class — in their career at Cornell — has yet to defeat Syracuse,” she said. “The last three years we have lost to the Orange, and we are looking for an intense game. They are always very aggressive, and Syracuse’s style is pretty fast paced … I think we’ll have our hands full defensively.”

Steinberg agrees that though Syracuse will be a challenging team to play, it is certainly within reason for the Red to come out on top this year against the Orange.

“Syracuse has always been a powerful team, but whenever we play them we give them a run for their money,” she said. “We’ve see Syracuse struggle more this year than in [the past], so we can capitalize on that.”

Original Author: Alane Trafford