Fighting tooth-and-nail, the No. 11 Cornell women’s lacrosse team eventually succumbed to No. 7 Princeton, 12-11, in sudden death during the second overtime period Saturday at Schoellkopf Field.
Despite the loss, Cornell secured itself a spot in the postseason Ivy League tournament for the sixth straight year with one regular season game remaining.
“This team has heart and fight which allows us to compete in every game no matter the opponent,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86.
The Red (10-4, 5-1 Ivy), got off to a strong start against the Tigers (11-3, 5-1), with junior midfielder Ida Farinholt scoring the first goal 2:42 into the game. The two traded goals before Princeton scored three unanswered to gain itself a 4-2 lead.
Sophomore attack Sarah Phillips then found the back of the net to pull the Red back within one, but the Tigers would score two more goals before the half was over, leaving the Red facing a three goal deficit.
Princeton then came out of the gates firing in the second half, scoring another goal less than a minute into the half to extend its lead to 7-3.
Showing its tenacity and determination, the Red scored three unanswered goals to shrink the Tigers’ lead to one thanks to efforts from a strong senior trio of midfielder Amie Dickson, captain midfielder Kristy Gilbert and captain attacker Catherine Ellis.
“We started winning the draw control, which was a huge momentum shift for our team,” said junior midfielder Joey Coffy. “It gave our offense the opportunity to fire some shots at the net.”
Cornell and Princeton then traded goals until Cornell took the lead for the first time in the second half with four minutes left in the game.
Determined to prove that Cornell was not the only team able to go on a run, Princeton scored one goal and then forced a turnover to tie the game with less than three seconds left on the clock. The teams then headed to overtime.
“Our entire team stepped up after [halftime], but I really think it was our defense that really sparked our overall effort in the second half,” Graap said. “We had some inspired plays in the backfield and solid clears that led to several great transition goals.”
Despite being short a woman after receiving a yellow card, the Red was able to stave off Princeton’s scoring attempts in the first overtime period thanks to four saves from senior goalie Renee Poullott and airtight defense from the defenders and midfielders.
After a scoreless first overtime period, the match went into double overtime, and it quickly became evident how evenly matched the two were as both struggled to score. Not until four seconds were left on the double overtime clock did Princeton find the back of the net to steal the victory at Schoellkopf.
“If our team could have done it all over, we would have allowed the clock to expire rather than taking the risks that we did in the final minutes of the game,” Coffy said.
Highlights from the game include hat tricks from Phillips, Ellis, Gilbert and Dickson and 15 saves by Poullott. Those 15 saves pushed Poullott over the 400 save plateau, making her the second Cornellian to reach that mark.
The Red may get another opportunity to take down the Tigers in the postseason Ivy League tournament. Given its outstanding Ancient Eight record, Cornell has secured its spot in the tournament to compete for an automatic berth to the National Championships.
Cornell’s only conference loss so far this season was this past weekend against Princeton, while the Tigers’ only league loss this season was to No. 10 Penn (11-2, 4-1), which Cornell downed this year. That makes next Saturday’s matchup against Harvard (8-6, 4-2) — currently fourth and also locked into the postseason tournament — crucial in determining Cornell’s seeding.
“Maintaining possession, winning the draw control, the hustle stats and making smart decisions as a team will be the difference in our game against Harvard,” Coffy said.
The Red takes on the Crimson Saturday, April 29, at noon on Schoellkopf Field. It will be Cornell’s last regular season match and a chance to honor its seniors.