Four straight Cornell goals to open Saturday’s game condemned the women’s lacrosse team to a 13–7 defeat on a night that marked the end of the Bulldogs’ hopes for a place in the Ivy League tournament.
Despite a much stronger second half, Yale’s (7–6, 1–5 Ivy) Ivy League struggles continued against the high-powered Cornell offense, ranked second in the Ivy League. The No. 20 Big Red (8–5, 4–3 Ivy) showed no mercy at Reese Stadium, scoring four goals in the first 15 minutes and later adding two more to take a 6–1 lead into halftime.
“Cornell came out really strong on both the offensive and defensive ends,” goalkeeper Erin McMullan ’14 said. “We found ourselves in a hole early, so we spent most of the game trying to catch up. They were very patient and effective, and this made our job a lot harder.”
Yale boasted 19 shots to Cornell’s 10 in the first half, yet the Elis only managed one goal, an unassisted tally by midfielder Cathryn Avallone ’15. Much of this can be attributed to Cornell goalkeeper Carly Gniewek, who had eight saves in the first half.
The Bulldogs left halftime knowing they needed to step up their play in order to have a chance to make the Ivy League tournament.
With 48 seconds gone in the second period, attacker Kerri Fleishhacker ’15 scored Yale’s second goal to give the Elis some momentum. Avallone added her second, and attacker Jen DeVito ’14 scored to bring the game to 7–4. But this was the closest that the Bulldogs could come. Cornell top scorer Lindsay Toppe added one of her four goals to ensure the Elis would never come closer than four goals down. The Big Red went on to score five of the next eight goals to close the game out.
“I think we put in a really good effort yesterday. Unfortunately we had a bit of an off-day in terms of shooting, and the outcome was obviously not the one that we wanted,” DeVito said. “Even though we are out of the tournament, I’m proud of this season and I don’t think there have been any games when we didn’t give 110 percent.”
In a theme consistent with the rest of the team’s season, the Bulldogs played much better in the second half but could not overcome a strong start by their opponents. But Yale did much better in fouls and turnovers, committing fewer than Cornell in two categories in which the Elis usually struggle. While the loss handed Cornell the final playoff spot, this season has been the Bulldogs’ best since the program’s 11-win season in 2008. The team has shown considerable improvement in almost all categories this year, especially offensively.
“Despite our standing for the Ivy League tournament, everyone is still focused on winning our last two games. This is the most talented team I’ve played on while being at Yale, so to mentally check out now just because of the tournament standings would be a waste of our talent and of all the hard work we’ve put into the season,” captain Devon Rhodes ’13 said.
Yale will look for its eighth win this season next Saturday at 4 p.m. against Boston University at Reese Stadium.