Women’s lacrosse competed against two teams during spring break, No. 17 Jacksonville University (8-3) and the University of Pennsylvania (3-8, 0-3 Ivy). Both games were for the Red’s Morgan’s Message games, highlighting the importance of mental health advocacy among athletes.
On Sunday, April 3, Cornell (7-4, 3-1 Ivy) started off with a narrow 10-9 loss to Jacksonville, ending the Red’s three-game winning streak.
“We knew Jacksonville was a fast, athletic team,” said Head Coach Jenny Graap. “We wanted to limit their transition opportunities and force them to play settled attack.”
The first and second quarters were very slow rolling, with low scores coming from both teams. After the first, Cornell and Jacksonville were tied, thanks to the help of goals from junior midfielder Sophie Ward and freshman midfielder Kylie Gelabert.
The second quarter racked up two more goals for the Red, both by senior midfielder Amanda Cramer, with the second goal assisted by senior midfielder Shannon Brazier. The Dolphins were left scoreless this quarter, entering halftime 4-2.
Cornell capitalized on Jacksonville’s struggles early on and gained three points, one from freshman attacker Josie Vogel and two by senior midfielder Genevieve DeWinter. After a period of struggle, the Dolphins came out strong and scored five goals, all near the end of the quarter and extending into the fourth.
“We anticipated that Jacksonville would come out of the locker room charged up and ready to go,” Graap said. “We did our best to limit their momentum, having learned in games like UConn, that emotional goals can turn the tide of the game.”
The fourth quarter ended 3-2, giving the game a final score of 10-9 and Jacksonville winning by one point.
“Our Zone D and excellent goal-keeping was a big part of our game plan,” Graap said. “Our non-conference schedule gives us a chance to compete against some of the strongest teams in the country, so playing the Dolphins was exciting.”
Jacksonville outshot Cornell 35-28, exceeded the draw controls, 13-10 and had fewer turnovers, 22-19. But the Red picked up more ground balls, 19-17, and tied for saves, 13-13, due to grad goalie Katie McGahan.
After the Dolphin’s quick turnaround, the Red was looking for a win. On Saturday, April 9, Cornell left Schoellkopf Field with a strong win against Penn, 13-9.
“Conference games are so important,” Graap said. “We tried to learn our lessons and move on from the Jacksonville loss quickly so we could be prepared to bring out [our] best against Penn.”
With only trailing behind Penn for about 90 seconds, the Red kept a consistent lead in the game and entered halftime with five goals and Penn with four. Goals from Cramer, Vogel, junior attacker Sophie Alois and the last two from DeWinter, started their runs for a multi-point game.
The third quarter is where Cornell broke away during a three-minute span creating a lead of four points. Cramer racked up two more goals by the end of the second quarter, and Vogel also had another. Then Gelabert, junior attacker Katie Castiello and sophomore midfielder Caitlin Slaminko put their name on the board by each contributing a goal.
The Red finished the game with two more goals during the last five minutes from Alois and DeWinter, securing the four-point difference.
“I was impressed with our team’s composure throughout the Penn game,” Graap said. “We had every kind of weather during the game: sun, rain, wind and even hail. Practicing outdoors in the winter months when the weather conditions in Ithaca are extremely challenging [but] definitely prepares us well.”
Cramer and DeWinter each scored three goals, contributing to the overall seven Cornell players to earn a point during the game.
Cornell had 29 shots, 21 of which were on goal, and Penn had 26 total shots. McGahan saved 10 of the 19 shots on goal and Penn only saved eight. The Red had more ground balls, 21-12, but fell short on draw controls, 16-10.
“Against Penn our attackers executed their 8 meter shots well and were efficient with their scoring; Cornell’s defensive unit played well together, and our advantage on the ground ball stats really helped us earn the win,” Graap said.
Cornell will compete against No. 2 Syracuse University for another home game on Schoellkopf Field on Tuesday, April 12 at 7 p.m.
“It will be a quick turnaround to get ready for Syracuse on Tuesday night,” Graap said. “The Orange have established themselves as a top team nationally, and they are loaded with talent. We will need to step up to the challenge and match their competitive intensity.”