Last year, Cornell women’s lacrosse suffered an early setback, dropping its season opener to Villanova on the road in a narrow one-goal decision. Yet, Cornell kicked off 2020 with a victory — coming from behind to secure a 13-11 win over Villanova.
This past Saturday, the Red took advantage of its opportunity for redemption. Once again, Cornell squared off against the Wildcats in its first game of the year — this time in the comfortable confines of Schoellkopf Field.
The match began with senior attacker Caroline Allen striking first for the Red. The Ardmore, Pa., native hit twine 6:25 into the contest and went on to finish the afternoon with a team-leading three goals.
But from there, Villanova proceeded to take control. The Wildcats scored six of the next eight goals to jump out to a 6-3 lead, but the Red regained its footing, narrowing Villanova’s advantage to 7-6 by the half.
“Although it was a battle, it was a full team effort, and we were able to pull out the win together,” Allen said.
During the first half, freshmen midfielders Katie Castiello and Bridget Babcock tallied their first career goals. Although the Villanova tilt represented their first game at the collegiate level, the freshmen players made an immediate impact.
“The best part of the game for me was seeing a lot of our underclassmen step up and play really well out there,” said senior captain Mary Kate Bonnani.
The second frame saw the Red outscore the Wildcats, 7-4. Early in the second frame, Cornell found the back of the net three times in the span of five minutes.
Villanova responded, though, adding four scores to take an 11-10 with 6:42 left in the contest. After this barrage, senior goalkeeper Katie McGahan buckled down in goal, shutting down the Wildcats the rest of the way — picking up 11 saves.
While McGahan locked down the net, Cornell began to rally. Sophomore midfielder Genevieve DeWinter engineered the comeback, scoring two quick goals to help the Red take a lead that it never relinquished.
Sophomore midfielder Shannon Brazier finished off the Wildcats, putting away an insurance goal with 79 seconds left, to help the Red earn its first victory of the season.
While Cornell finished with a win, the team believes there is room for improvement in the coming games.
“It wasn’t perfect by any means, but we had many moments where we could see the potential we have as a team,” Bonnani said. “The biggest thing for [the] team will be coming out ready to go from the first whistle.”
Next up for the Red is a tilt with Penn State at 1 p.m. on Sunday.