Following a lackluster performance at Penn State last weekend, Cornell women’s lacrosse looked to bounce back on Saturday in its first Ivy League contest of the season. In an exciting second-half comeback, Cornell was able to narrowly edge out Harvard, 9-8.
In the first half, junior Ellie Walsh scored the first two goals of the game, with junior Olivia Jensen scoring another goal as well, sparking a quick 3-0 lead by the Red.
However, these three goals were the only goals Cornell scored in the first half. After 7:12 of scoreless play, the Crimson began to cut away at the Red’s lead and rattled off six unanswered goals. Entering half time, Harvard (1-3, 0-1 Ivy League) held a 6-3 advantage.
Despite the offensive lull in the latter part of the first half, the Red came into the second frame aggressive and sharp. Freshman Katie Castiello broke the 27-minute dry spell, putting the offense back on track. She scored a goal four minutes into the second half, and then added another 1:44 later to bring the Red to within one.
Junior Grace Paletta later scored on a free position shot at 19:31 to knot the game at six apiece, and the Red kept pushing for more. Sophomore Genevieve DeWinter netted her third goal of the season to give Cornell a 7-6 lead — its first advantage since the first half.
“I think overall the team went in with a great attitude,” DeWinter said about the team’s mindset entering the game. “Everyone was super prepared after a good week of practice so we went in with our heads up and ready to go.”
The narrow lead, however, did not last long, as a back-and-forth commenced between the two teams, with Harvard scoring a goal quickly after to re-tie the game. Two minutes later, DeWinter scored again, helping the Red regain the lead. Freshman Sophie Alois then found the back of the net, giving Cornell a 9-7 edge.
Harvard scored again, cutting the deficit to one with 6:36 left in the game. With a small lead, the defense tightened up to help secure the win. Harvard only tallied a single shot over the last six minutes of play, and that shot was blocked.
“We definitely wanted to come out and play as a team,” DeWinter said. “It wasn’t about the individual efforts, it was more about how we could come together and truly dominate as a team because that was what’s going to lift us and get us to win.”
Coming off its strong comeback victory on Saturday, the team traveled to Hamilton, N.Y. to face off against Colgate on Tuesday. This game, however, saw the Red suffer a similar fate to Harvard as it fell victim to a second-half surge by the Raiders, which resulted in an 11-8 loss.
The two teams were neck-and-neck for much of the first half, exchanging goals and keeping the game close. A goal by Castiello, one by sophomore Shannon Brazier, and three by senior Caroline Allen comprised the team’s offense in the first half. Going into halftime, the score was tight at 5-4 in favor of the Red.
But the second half started off promising, as Cornell (3-2, 1-0 Ivy League) scored three consecutive goals thanks to the sticks of Castiello, junior Reilly Fletcher and freshman Sophie Ward. The three-goal spurt gave the Red a comfortable 8-4 lead.
For the rest of the game, however, Cornell’s offense was completely shut down by Colgate (3-2) netminder Samantha Croston, who recorded 17 saves, eight of which came after the Red’s three consecutive goals. Croston’s defensive lockdown allowed the Raiders’ offense to get back on track, scoring seven unanswered goals to lock up the 11-8 win.
Cornell, now 3-2, will look to bounce back, as it returns to Schoellkopf Field to compete against Ivy foe Columbia at 1 p.m. on Saturday.