Cornell women’s lacrosse lost to No. 10 Princeton, 18-15, on Saturday afternoon at Schoellkopf Field.
But the Red will get another chance against the Tigers next weekend in the Ivy League Tournament. No. 4 seed Cornell will face top-seeded Princeton next weekend in New York City, with at trip to the conference championship game on the line.
Saturday was Senior Day for the Red, which honored six veterans of the program: Hannah O’Reilly, Natalie Paletta, Samantha Nielsen, Shannon Bertscha, Tomasina Leska and captain Sarah Phillips.
“Our seniors have done an incredible job all year strengthening the foundation of our program,” said head coach Jenny Graap. “I couldn’t be prouder of how each and every senior handled herself through the best of times and the most challenging of times. They can always carry their heads high knowing that their investment in our team’s culture will be their lasting legacy.”
Despite the loss, there were some highlights for the senior class. Bertscha scored a career-high five goals, leading the Red in scoring against the Tigers, and Leska, with four goals and an assist, now has 100 career points — 79 goals and 21 assists.
In another individual highlight, junior captain Mary Kate Bonanni tied a career-high of her own with two caused turnovers.
Despite these efforts, the Red came up short, largely in part to a dominant first half for the Tigers.
Princeton scored twice before Cornell found the back of the net, with an unassisted goal by Bertscha. But then Princeton took charge with a four-goal run. Cornell responded with two goals of its own: another unassisted goal by Bertscha, and a goal by sophomore Ellie Walsh with an assist from sophomore Grace Paletta.
The Tigers dominated the remainder of the half, racking up six more goals while the Red managed two — the first half ended with the Red trailing 12-5.
The second half was much better for Cornell, whose comeback fell short. Princeton scored two-thirds of its 18 goals during the first half, while the Red scored two-thirds of its 15 during the second.
“[Our] draw control unit started to click in the second half,” Graap said. “Princeton is an athletic and skilled team so keeping the ball in our attacking end was a much better formula for [us].”
The Tigers opened the second half much as it did the first, with two quick goals. This time, though, the Red responded with two quick goals of its own from Leska and Bertscha.
Each team scored four of the next eight goals. Cornell earned two more from both Leska and Bertscha.
Then, the Red dominated the last 11 minutes of the competition with a four-goal streak: Junior captain Caroline Allen and Paletta scored a goal each, and freshman Genevieve DeWinter put in the first and the last of the streak.
But the streak was not quite enough as the Tigers held off the Red for a three-point victory. With the Red the No. 4 seed and the Tigers the No. 1 seed in next week’s Ivy League tournament, Princeton is not only Cornell’s most recent opponent, but its next.
“We can use the film of Saturday’s contest to really prepare,” Graap said.
The teams will face off on Friday at the Ivy League tournament in New York City. The Red will aim to break its three-game losing streak to advance in the tournament.