Dana Daniels | Sun Staff Photographer

Sophomore midfielder Taylor Reed notched a goal and two assists against the Golden Bears on Wednesday.

March 23, 2016

With Dominant Win Over Cal, Cornell Women’s Lacrosse Continues Undefeated Start to Season

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The Cornell women’s lacrosse team continued its commanding season, toppling Cal, 12-4, on Wednesday. The Red (6-0, 2-0 Ivy), remains one of only three undefeated NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse teams accompanied by No. 7 USC and No. 1 Maryland.

“It definitely feels good. It’s been a great start,” said head coach Jenny Graap. “Every game is different, and I was happy we were able to put together two solid halves, especially defensively. I was pleased we held [Cal] to one goal in the second half.”

Sophomore midfielder Joey Coffey initiated the slew of scoring with a goal 2:45 into the game. After impressive shooting all around for the Red in the first 20 minutes, senior attack Olivia Mattyasovszky closed out the first half’s scoring, notching her team-leading 11th goal of the season with just three seconds left in the half.

At the break, Cornell managed to create a five-goal advantage, putting the Golden Bears in a 8-3 hole.

In the second half, Cornell only improved its defensive efforts, allowing the Golden Bears to score just one more point for the remainder of the game.

“We were looking to playing a full 60 minutes today and making sure we didn’t have any lulls,” said senior captain Brittany Marriott. “We really accomplished that by focusing on having a good second half because we only let them score one goal. We’re really happy with the win.”

In addition to the defensive success of the second half, the Red also continued its strong offensive performance toward the end of the game.

Coffey once again kicked off the scoring with her fifth goal of the season in the second half. Junior attack Catherine Ellis then completed a hat trick later in the half while sophomore midfielder Taylor Reed and senior midfielder Shelby McNeilly each supplied their own scoring efforts, putting Cornell ahead 12-3.

In the two programs’ last match up, Cornell set a program scoring record against California, winning 23-6. Although the Golden Bears have seen some improvement since then, the Red were still the favorite to win, according to Graap. Despite the projections, Graap said the women’s team remained modest in their efforts.

“We’re very humble, and we went into the game knowing that we had to earn the victory,” Graap said. “When you’re focusing on draw controls, ground balls, quality shots and the freshman in [California’s] net who just came off a game where she had twenty saves, we knew we had to stay disciplined.”

With the dominant victory, Graap had the opportunity to let younger players join in on the action.

“I was happy to see a lot of our younger players developing at this point in the season,” Graap said. “I thought [freshman attack] Tomasina Leska came off the bench for us as a freshman and scored a very nice goal in the first half and some nice takes in the second.  I thought she looked more composed and I was very happy with her performance.”

With the season looking as sharp as ever, Cornell must now hone its efforts on continuing this trend of triumphs against Brown this Saturday. Brown (4-3, 0-2 Ivy), looks to end Cornell’s hot streak.

“We’re really excited for our next Ivy match up and have to make sure we bring the intensity,” said Marriott. “The Ivy League is definitely where our focus should be, so we’re looking to make sure that we’re really focused these next two days at practice.”

Although Brown has had bad luck against conference opponents so far this season, the Bears still pose a viable threat to the Red, according to Graap.

“Coming back to the Ivies for us are the games that truly matter, and Brown gives us a tough game every year,” Graap said. “They’re athletic and feisty, and to play them on home field in Providence … I expect it to be a dog fight, and I hope that we play two good halves out there this weekend.”

Graap spoke highly of the Bears, who lost to Cornell, 14-6, last year.

“From what I can tell so far, they’re pretty balanced in their offense,” Graap said. “They’ve got a very strong defensive core as well.”

Cornell faces Brown this Saturday at 1 p.m. at Stevenson-Pincince Field in Providence. With a win, the Red will be off to its best start to a season under Graap.