Cornell (4-9, 3-4 Ivy) seized the lead 44 seconds into the game and never looked back in a 17-8 win over the Crimson in Ithaca.
“We came into the game pretty positive, because we’d had two great wins against Columbia and UNH,” senior captain Perry Barlow said. “We finally had our confidence back, but it was their Senior Day, and they came into it really fired up. One of the biggest things we’ve learned this year is the necessity to show up emotionally.”
Crisp passing was key to the success of the Cornell offense. Of the 14 goals the Big Red scored in open play, nine were assisted. That contrasts with the Harvard offense, which often relies on individual players to create scoring opportunities for themselves.
Even in the Crimson’s 12-6 win over UNH last week, only three of Harvard’s goals were assisted. When teams have forced Harvard to string passes together—as Cornell did—the Crimson has often struggled to score.
Cornell followed up Katherine Simmons’ game-opening goal with quick scores from Margaux Viola and Kathryn Dewey.
Harvard got on the board with a score from junior attack Kaitlin Martin, who notched a hat trick to bump her team-leading goal total to 38.
But every time the Crimson scored, the Big Red quickly matched. Just 15 seconds after Martin’s tally, Cornell attack Courtney Farrell retaliated with an unassisted goal. A minute later, Farrell notched another goal to make the score 5-1.
Following Farrell’s pair, Martin and junior attack Caroline Simmons each scored to pull Harvard within two. Cornell and Martin traded goals again, keeping the game close at 6-4.
However, the follow-up to Martin’s third goal was disastrous for the Crimson. Over an 18-minute span that began near the end of the first half and stretched far into the second, Harvard gave up 10 consecutive goals, letting the game get way out of hand. What had been a 6-4 battle turned into a 16-4 rout.
“We’ve been having trouble giving up runs all season,” Barlow said. “It was a two-goal game for a while, and then they pulled ahead by six, seven, eight. We thought we were in the game, it was going well, and then they pulled away.”
Simmons broke the drought for Harvard with a goal off a free position shot midway through the second half. The Crimson enjoyed a mini-run of its own just before the game ended, with sophomore defender Ali McDonough, junior midfielder Jacqueline Hehir, and Barlow scoring a goal each.
Improved success in winning draws was crucial to Harvard’s late-game success, just as a failure to control the draw explained the Crimson’s earlier difficulties.
“We really had trouble getting the draw, and that was really the difference maker,” Barlow said. “When we started getting the draw in the last 10 minutes of the game, we started scoring goals.”
Harvard plays its final game of the season Wednesday at Brown. Barlow believes the final contest of her career will be close, but anticipates a Crimson triumph.
“Going into Brown, I think everyone is feeling pretty good, feeling pretty positive,” she said. “I think we’re matched up pretty evenly skill-wise, but we just want it a little more.”
—Staff writer Tyler D. Sipprelle can be reached at email@example.com.