The Cornell women’s lacrosse team played a hard-fought match against Syracuse on Tuesday night, but ended with an 11-8 loss at the Carrier Dome. The Orange, known for its dominance across all sports, played a magnificent second half to win its fifth straight and bump its win total to 13.
The match between the Red (10-3, 5-0 Ivy) and Orange (13-4, 5-1 ACC) was exhilarating right out of the gate. Sophomore Sarah Phillips put Cornell on the board first, taking the early 1-0 lead two minutes into the game. Strategic ball control from senior captain Catie Smith on the opening draw allowed the Red to benefit from her efforts and start strong.
“Our team has done really well offensively against a zone, and we were very prepared for Syracuse,” Smith said. “Syracuse plays very similar year to year, so our defense was also able to make big stops when we were in our zone.”
Limiting Syracuse to five goals in the first half was no easy task, but the Cornell squad managed to replicate its magic from the 2016 season. The team even showed considerable improvement from last year, as the Red put up five in the first half this year as opposed to two last year.
“We want to go hard from the first whistle and leave everything on the field,” said senior goalie Renee Poullott. “Our attack did a great job of picking apart their defense early on and getting them back on their heels. We knew how fast they would be in the midfield and on their attacking side of the ball their go to playmakers. Everyone prepared very well and really gave their all throughout the game.”
After the intermission, the Orange truly found its stride in picking apart the Red defense. In the opening moments of the second half, senior Devon Parker gave the Orange its first lead of the game by notching a goal in under 40 seconds.
“Syracuse came out strong on the draw to start the second half,” head coach Jenny Graap ‘86 said. “They were able to put a few goals on the board early which gave them some momentum.”
The lead was quickly erased, however, when Phillips returned the favor with another goal, but this was the last time the Red would keep Syracuse in its sights. The Orange began to run away with the victory after forcing key turnovers and capitalizing on all fronts.
“Syracuse was a good, aggressive team and we were aware of that,” Poullott said. “We prepared well, studied film, learned about their offensive, defensive and draw looks. In the end, we may not have won, but there were quite a few good moments that happened all over the field.”
Smith shared a similar sentiment concerning her team’s hard work, but believed the Red could have done more.
“I think our team worked as hard as we could, but finishing our plays would have put us in a better position to dominate the game,” Smith added. “Whether it was getting a ground ball out of our defensive end, protecting our sticks on transition or finishing our shots around the goalie, we needed to finish every play and take care of every moment.”
Despite the loss, Cornell must regroup and prepare for its next matchup against Princeton (10-2, 4-0). The Tigers held down the Orange, 16-11, earlier this season, so they will surely be a threat for the Red.
Last year, Cornell fell to Princeton in a close 8-7 loss, where the game was never more than a two-point differential. The heated rematch between the two Ivy’s will surely be seen on Saturday.
“Our team is excited to play Princeton,” Poullott said. “We know they are looking to avenge their loss to us last season in the Ivy Tournament. We know they are going to be a tough team, and I think we are all ready and excited for the competition.”
Smith foresees Cornell and Princeton going all-out in the upcoming matchup.
“Ivy games are always fun, and there is a lot more emotion put into Ivy games, so it will be a tough battle,” Smith said. “You can expect there to be a lot of aggressive plays and both teams going 110 percent the entire time.”
Princeton currently boasts a 10-2 overall record complemented with an undefeated 4-0 Ivy record. One of these two top ranked women’s lacrosse teams will have to walk away with a conference loss come Saturday.
The Red will host the Tigers Saturday at 1 p.m. on Schoellkopf Field.