March 31, 2013

W. LACROSSE | Second Half Struggles Plague C.U. Against Tigers

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The Cornell women’s lacrosse team hoped to rebound from two consecutive road losses in its home matchup with Princeton on Saturday, but the Red sustained another disappointing loss.

The Tigers (6-3, 3-0 Ivy League) overcame Cornell (6-3, 2-2 Ivy) by a score of 12-10. What began as a back-and-forth contest in the first half developed into a large Princeton lead early in the second half, and the Red was never able to fully recover.

The evenly played first half included multiple lead changes, and the teams headed into the break with Cornell leading, 8-7. According to senior attack Caroline Salisbury, the Red had a better start to this game than it had in the previous two games.

“Finishing the first half with the lead was really great, because in the last few games we really didn’t start off that strong, and one of our focuses throughout the week was to start the game strong,” she said. “We did that well and it was exciting.”

The Red lost its lead and dug itself into a deep hole when Princeton scored five straight goals at the start of the second half to take a four goal lead. According to senior defenseman Kate Ivory, the Red’s inability to secure possession of the ball led to the Tigers’ scoring streak.

“We couldn’t win the draw control, so we needed to play a lot of defense and didn’t have possession of the ball,” she said. “It goes back to really needing to play a full 60 minutes.  We played the first half well, but again we weren’t able to play a full 60 minutes well.”

Salisbury agreed, adding that the Red’s defense was put under intense pressure because of how often the Tigers controlled the ball.

“The defense can only stop them for so long if they’re continually maintaining possession of the ball,” she said.

The Red scored two goals to cut the deficit to two, but failed to complete the comeback.  Princeton employed a time-killing strategy, passing the ball around while preventing the Red from causing enough turnovers to produce two more goals.

According to Salisbury, the Red was successful in pressuring the Tigers’ offensive attack, but turned the ball over too many times once it actually had control.

“You definitely need to step up and pressure them with aggressive play, which we did and we would come up and pressure their forwards and the ball would be on the ground, but we failed to pick it up,” she said. “Or we would cause a turnover [and] we would make a bad decision on the pass and turn the ball over to them, so then they maintained possession for a good portion of the second half. We did a good job pressuring and played aggressively, but we weren’t able to convert it into solid possession time for our team.”

Nonetheless, according to Ivory, the Red improved certain aspects of its game against the Tigers, and will likely return to its winning ways if the team works together diligently to improve its play.

“Despite the loss, we saw improvement in other areas of our game,” she said. “We just need to build off of those positives and fix, as a team and individually, what we need to do in order to gain more confidence. We need to continue trusting each other, stay relaxed, and just have fun playing the sport. If we do those things, then everything will hopefully fall into place.”

Original Author: Ben Horowitz