Hoping for a win to secure an Ivy tournament berth, the Red’s furious second-half comeback fell short, ending the team’s season with a tough loss to Harvard on Saturday.
The host Crimson (6-9, 2-5 Ivy) got off to a fast start, which was enough to preserve a 14-13 final score. Harvard scored five goals in the first 10 minutes of the game before senior captain and midfielder Ida Farinholt found the back of the net to put the Red (7-8, 2-5 Ivy) on the board.
Cornell then continued to close the gap, getting within two goals of Harvard with just over 10 minutes left in the first half, but the Crimson then went on another five-goal run to leave the Red trailing, 12-5, at the intermission.
“After hitting a pipe on an open net 8m to end what was a very frustrating and disappointing first half, we came together in the locker room and re-committed to our goals,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “Assistant coach Margaret Corzel spoke passionately about playing from the heart and our team responded.”
The second half was a completely different story — Cornell outscored Harvard, 8-2, in the half. Senior captain and midfielder Taylor Reed started the comeback, and senior midfielder Joey Coffy scored shortly thereafter to shrink Cornell’s deficit to five. Critical to shifting the momentum in favor of the Red was the “senior circle” — comprised of senior midfielders Reed, Farinholt and Coffy — who dominated on draws to generate offensive opportunities for the Red.
“Our senior midfielders turned the game around with their play on the draw, winning 8 of 11 draws,” Graap said.
Harvard then scored to extend its lead to six, but the Red went on an uninterrupted five-goal run of its own, sparked by sophomore attacker Caroline Allen. The run included two goals just 40 seconds apart from Farinholt, a goal from junior attacker Tomasina Leska and a free position goal from Allen.
Allen’s free position goal, her 17th of the season, tied the school record for number of free position tallies in a season.
“We are all proud of Caroline Allen who finished as Cornell’s leading scorer in her sophomore campaign,” Graap said. “She’s ranked in the top-20 nationally in free position conversions, and she did a great job all spring scoring from her direct shots.”
Harvard then scored again to retake a two-goal lead, but Leska struck once more to bring the Red back within one with a little under six minutes to play.
However, Harvard clung to a one-goal lead, running down the clock and ending the Red’s season, eliminating Cornell’s chance for a spot in the Ivy Tournament.
“In seven Ivy games, [we] had two notable breakdowns that cost us dearly,” Graap said. “Those two losses, to Brown and Harvard, ultimately cost us a spot in the 2018 Ivy League Tournament. Learning and improving will be our focus going forward.
“There were a lot of challenges this spring, and things didn’t fall our way, but I’m very proud of the women in this program. They are high achievers, and they want to fight for championships every year.”