It was a close game against a close rival, but close didn’t cut it for the Red this week.
On Tuesday, Cornell women’s lacrosse team travelled the short distance to Syracuse to battle it out against the Orange. The Red was just barely beaten, 16-13, by the regional rival, but put up a strong fight throughout the game.
Sophomore Olivia Jensen scored a career-high five goals, while sophomore Ellie Walsh also scored three goals in the match. Walsh’s first goal got the momentum started for Cornell.
“This last game we came in with good confidence,” said Jensen, “and [the] connection I had with my teammates was a factor.”
Other notable performances came from junior goalkeeper Katie McGahan, who made nine saves in the game, and Shannon Brazier, who scored two critical goals.
With 12:33 left in the game, Cornell was up 12-11 on the Atlantic Coast Conference powerhouse.
Syracuse promptly went on a 4-0 run, which led the Orange to a 15-12 lead, one which held up. A few more goals ended the game at the final score of 16-13.
Syracuse is currently tied for second in the ACC — a conference boasting four of the top five teams in the nation.
Head coach Jenny Graap ’86, who has coached at Cornell since 1997, commended her team on its strong performance.
“Cornell competed from the opening whistle,” Graap said. “Our players executed the game plan and matched the physicality of our opponent.”
The Red is going into its final two games of the season with an 8-5 overall record and a 4-1 record in Ivy League play, which ties the Red with Dartmouth for first in the Ivy League — this coming just a year removed from a 2-5 finish in the Ivy League.
The lacrosse team has thus far beaten Harvard, Columbia, Yale and Brown. The Red’s one league loss came in a tight 11-10 home game against Penn.
The team is preparing for its final two games against No. 16 Dartmouth College and No. 10 Princeton University, hoping to end its season with two wins. The team will head to Hanover this weekend.
“My assistants do a great job of focusing on the small game — one-on-ones, two-on-twos, three-on-twos — so [our] offensive and defensive units can have solid foundations for our 12-on-12 game.”
Jensen indicated that focus would be an important factor in maintaining momentum.
“I think for us it’s focusing on the little things [that will] make a big difference,” Jensen said. “Our past games our defenders and our goalie did a great job … and that led a good way for the offense.”
These coming games hold extra weight in determining Cornell’s playoff fate. Wins would ensure a top-four Ivy finish and a playoff spot, Graap said.
Tune in this Saturday at 1 p.m. as women’s lacrosse tries to bring itself one step closer to a spot in the postseason.