In a midweek tilt against regional rival Syracuse, women’s lacrosse battled hard against the Orange, only trailing by three at the half, but ultimately succumbed to the offensive powerhouse, 14-7, on Tuesday.
The No. 21 Red (4-3, 1-1 Ivy) held No. 7/9 Syracuse (6-2, 0-1 ACC) to its second-lowest scoring game of the season; the only team to allow Syracuse fewer goals was No.1 Maryland, who held the Orange to 11 goals on March 11.
Cornell’s defensive unit contained a strong Syracuse offense that averaged a staggering 17.5 goals per game coming into the match.
“Our defense held strong in the second half,” said senior captain Taylor Reed. “To play a top ranked opponent so tightly in the first half shows us just how strong our team is and how much potential we have this season.”
Both teams traded goals until midway through the first half when the Orange went on a five-goal run to pull ahead, 8-3. However, sophomore attacker Caroline Allen and senior midfielder Ida Farinholt then each notched a goal of their own to pull the Red back within three by halftime.
“I think we came ready to play and pushed the tempo early in the first half,” said junior captain Sarah Phillips. “We pushed transition off the draw and made some really awesome plays by taking advantage of [Syracuse] not being set, which gave us early offense.”
Both teams then struggled to get on the scoreboard in the first part of the second half until Syracuse went on another uninterrupted scoring streak, recording six goals this time before two goals from Allen ended the Orange’s run.
“In the first half we started out strong on the offensive end moving the ball quickly and capitalizing in transition,” Reed said. “However, as the game progressed we were not able to find the back of the net despite generating shot opportunities.”
Despite the lopsided final score, a side-by-side statistical comparison of the two teams tells a different story — the Red took 31 shots to Syracuse’s 25, had 25 shots on goal to Syracuse’s 21, fielded 16 ground balls to Syracuse’s 11, caused eight turnovers to Syracuse’s three and won 11 draw controls to Syracuse’s 12.
“I think our shooting could have been better the entire game,” Phillips said. “We could have been way more patient on our shots and took the time to place them to put more points on the board.”
Other highlights from the game include three goals and an assist from Allen, two goals from Farinholt and an assist from Phillips. Freshman midfielder Grace Paletta and junior attacker Tomasina Leska also each found the back of the net once.
Defensively, senior midfielder and Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week Joey Coffy had another monster game for the Red — winning four draw controls, fielding four ground balls and causing two turnovers.
Sophomore goalie Katie McGahan tallied seven saves, and freshman goalkeeper Hailey Andress made her collegiate debut, playing for just over four minutes.
The Red looks to learn from this opportunity of facing a top-ten team and translate the lessons learned into future successes.
“It’s always fun and a great learning experience to play such a skilled and highly ranked team,” Phillips said. “Playing a team like that we technically have nothing to lose, so it’s just about going out there and giving a good hard fight and getting better. There is a lot we can learn and build upon from this game.”
Cornell gets its next opportunity to follow through on its motto and “come to compete” as it returns to Ancient Eight play on Saturday when it welcomes Yale (6-2, 2-0 Ivy).
“Looking ahead to another Ivy League matchup this weekend we will continue to work on our offensive game and lock it down on the defensive end,” Reed said.
The Red holds the overall advantage in the series against the Bulldogs, 20-19.
“Yale is a great team and has had success this season,” Phillips said. “So we are not taking them lightly and will be doing our homework on them extensively to be the most prepared possible.”
Cornell will attempt to ruin Yale’s perfect conference record at 1 p.m. Saturday at Schoellkopf Field.