Women's Lacrosse Falls to Cornell, 17-12
The Harvard women’s lacrosse team was unable to open its Ivy League season on a high note as it fell to Cornell, 17-12, on Saturday afternoon at Schoellkopf Field in Ithaca.
In the loss, freshmen attackers Audrey Todd and Alexis Nicolia combined for six goals, with three apiece, providing a positive light to an otherwise disappointing game.
“I think our freshman class played well,” Nicolia said. “We all come from good high schools so we understand the pressure of college. I think we held our composure well. We don’t really play like freshmen who are nervous to do things.”
Nicolia has now scored eight goals in two games for the Crimson (0-2, 0-1 Ivy).
“I think that we’ve been making a bunch of little mistakes that are very fixable,” Nicolia said. “It’s fortunate that I was able to find the back of the net a couple times but I wish our team as a whole found the back of the net a little more.”
Todd also handed out two assists to total five points in the game. The rookie contributed two points in last week’s 18-13 loss at Stanford.
“We have a strong freshman class,” captain Micaela Cyr said. “We have a bunch of freshmen starting on offense and defense. It’s a huge transition from the high school to college game of lacrosse. It’s more physical, it’s faster [but] they’ve done well. We all have things to work on given that we lost our first two games, but they’ve stepped up and done their part.”
Cyr, a midfielder who snatched three ground balls and five draw controls, was the only other player from the Crimson to record a team-high five points, also scoring three goals and dishing out two assists.
The No. 15 Big Red (2-0, 1-0 Ivy) jumped out to an early lead that Harvard was never able to recover from.
Up 8-5 heading into the intermission, Cornell pushed the lead to seven, 13-6, by scoring five goals in the first nine minutes of play after the break. During the scoring spree, Big Red sophomore attacker Lindsay Toppe—who had a game-high nine points off four goals and five assists—connected with teammates Rachel Moody and Amanda D’Amico, who both found the back of the net. Toppe also scored a goal of her own at the start of the second half, assisted by Sarah Hefner.
The Crimson answered with offensive action of its own. Cyr scored an unassisted goal before passing to Nicolia almost three minutes later, who sent the ball past Cornell goalie Courtney Gallagher. Both Gallagher and the Crimson goalies—senior Melanie Cook and sophomore Annie Meyjes—grabbed seven saves in net.
Cyr followed up with a third unassisted goal to complete a hat trick and give Harvard its ninth point. The Big Red restored the seven-point advantage, 16-9, with a D’Amico shot.
The Crimson closed the gap to four with unassisted goals by Todd and junior defender Chloe Soukas and Nicolia’s final tally. Cornell scored once more off a free-position shot with 7:17 left in the contest.
Cornell was aided by a bevy of penalty opportunities. The Crimson committed 32 fouls through the contest to the Big Red’s 14 total errors. Cornell was awarded seven free-position shots, three of which the team converted into goals.
“You always get hit or miss with the fouls,” Cyr said. “Sometimes you’re drawing the ball back when you’re down and you maybe get too aggressive. That got called against us in that sense but that’s something I think we’ll probably work on, just trying to get our body positioning there rather than going with a check.”
Harvard did lead, however, in draw controls, 17 to 14. The Crimson previously struggled in gaining possessions against the Cardinals, trailing the opponent in draw controls, 21 to 12.
“Last weekend we struggled a lot in the second half with draw controls so practice all last week we focused on getting off the line quickly and handling the ball when everyone’s clasping,” Nicolia said, “It’s great that it played out well in the game.”
—Staff writer Cordelia F. Mendez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @CrimsonCordelia.