Rachel Lubbe / Sun Contributor

The Red were unable to overcome a strong defensive efforts by the Quakers on Saturday.

March 5, 2018

Penn’s Stifling Defense Hands Women’s Lacrosse Second Loss of Season

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After heavy defensive pressure from Penn halted the Red’s attempt to ruin the Quaker’s unblemished record, Cornell women’s lacrosse dropped a tough match to its conference rival Saturday.

No. 18 Cornell (1-2, 0-1 Ivy) battled hard for 60 minutes — with scoring efforts coming from junior attack Tomasina Leska, sophomore attack Caroline Allen and senior midfielder, Taylor Reed — but ultimately succumbed to the No. 12 Quakers (4-0, 1-0 Ivy).

“Our defense really stepped it up today,” Reed said. “We just didn’t execute on the offensive end — we didn’t finish our shots.”

Despite a relatively lopsided final score, the Red was not significantly outmatched statistically by the Quakers — taking 22 shots to Penn’s 27 and winning seven draw controls to Penn’s nine.

“[Our] attacking unit had a difficult time navigating Penn’s defensive pressure,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “Our shooting was definitely off, and a number of confidence-boosting saves [by the Quakers] early in the game gave Penn a clear advantage.”

Cornell’s defensive unit performed well under pressure — holding the high-scoring Quakers to just 11 goals. Penn has averaged over 14 goals per game this season and scored 19 goals against Rutgers just last week.

Senior defender Cait Callahan led the way for the Red’s defense with three caused turnovers, while Reed followed closely behind with two.

Senior defender Anna Baumeister also played a critical role in containing her opponent’s lethal offense as she held Penn’s 5th-year senior attacker Caroline Cummings — who averaged 2.67 goals per game coming into Saturday’s contest — to a scoreless game.

“Our team needs to translate great defensive stops into points on the other end of the field,” Graap said.

Sophomore goalkeeper Katie McGahan and junior goalkeeper Sammy Nielsen each tallied three saves for the Red — with McGahan in the crease the first half and Nielsen the second.

“Sammy did really well coming in [the second half],” said senior midfielder Ida Farinholt. “She was really a spark for us on defense.”

Hungry for redemption, Cornell looks to rebound from the loss by translating its mistakes into learning opportunities.

“It’s important that we learn quickly from the mistakes that we did make [on Saturday],” said junior captain attacker Sarah Phillips. “We’ll be back at practice working on areas we need [to improve] — offensively, we’ll be trying to find that chemistry and how we can work together to put goals on the board.”

The Red will be looking to put many goals on the board tomorrow as it hits the road to take on regional rival, Colgate (3-1) at 5 p.m. in Hamilton. Cornell holds the overall advantage in the series 29-14-1.

“The main thing for us,” Farinholt said, “is having confidence in ourselves and in each other so we can get the win this time.”