Now with just three games remaining in the 2019 season — all against nationally ranked opponents — Cornell women’s lacrosse set itself up for a shot at the Ivy League title with a home win over a tough Ivy team.
On a sunny Ithaca day in front of an enthusiastic home crowd, the Red took down Brown, 10-7, to improve to 4-1 in league play.
The Red showcased its dominant defense, as before Saturday, Brown had not scored fewer than nine goals in a game this season.
“Holding Brown to such a low number of goals was really a great thing for our defense to accomplish,” said junior captain Mary Kate Bonanni.
The game also demonstrated the Red’s depth — Cornell got the win despite injury-related absences.
“We faced some major adversities early this week with two very impactful players in our defensive end getting injured,” Bonanni said. “So the performance against Brown was really empowering. … It showed how much depth we have as a defense, and that we’re very adaptable. A lot of players stepped up.”
Junior goalkeeper Katie McGahan made 13 saves — five in the first half and eight in the second — tying her season high.
“It wouldn’t have been the same game without [McGahan] in the goal playing absolutely incredibly,” Bonanni said.
Also playing exemplary defense for the Red was junior Taylor Lis: The player she was tasked with defending didn’t record a single point.
“[Lis] is such an impactful player, and is often faced with defending really tough offensive players,” Bonanni said. “Without [Lis] in there [Saturday], the game would probably have ended much differently.”
But the Red’s offense was strong in its own right, too. Cornell still has only failed to score double-digit goals in one game this season, and attackers sophomore Olivia Jensen and senior Tomasina Leska recorded hat tricks in Saturday’s win.
But it was the Bears that first made it onto the scoreboard, with a goal less than three minutes into the game. The Red responded with a goal by Jensen followed by two more from senior captain Sarah Phillips.
Brown scored two more of its own before the Red went on a three-goal run, with goals by Jensen, Leska and senior captain Caroline Allen, to enter halftime with a 6-3 lead.
Brown again scored first after the half, but Cornell went on another three-goal streak, scored again by Jensen, Leska and Allen.
Brown responded with its own three-goal run to tighten things up, but Leska scored her third goal of the day with less than 25 seconds remaining to top off the win for Cornell.
The win sets Cornell up for a shot at the Ivy League title. The Red is 4-1 in conference play, tied with No. 24 Dartmouth atop the conference with two league games remaining. No. 9 Penn and No. 16 Princeton are both half a game back at 3-1.
“An Ivy win is always awesome, but beating Brown, who is very strong this year, puts us in a great place as we approach postseason play,” Bonanni said.
The Red will hit the road to play No. 3 Syracuse this Tuesday before resuming Ivy play Saturday against Dartmouth in Hanover.