Cornell Denies Yale's Bid for Spot in Ivy Tournament

ITHACA, N.Y. ľA spot in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament was at stake Sunday afternoon at a rainy Schoellkopf Field as Yale took on Cornell in the regular season finale. The Bulldogs fell behind 6-2 in the first half but fought back to get within 7-5 with 12:18 to play. That was as close as it would get, however, as the Big Red scored the final five goals of the game and earned a spot in the semifinals against Dartmouth next Friday with a 12-5 win.

Cornell (5-8, 4-3 Ivy League) was led by six goals from attacker Jessi Steinberg, including four in the first half. After a pair from Steinberg in the first four minutes, Yale (6-9, 3-4 Ivy League) got on the board when sophomore goalie Whitney Quackenbush made a save and junior midfielder/defender Kaitlyn Flatley took the ball up the right side on the clear attempt. Flatley kept going to goal and fired one high past Kristen Reese at the 24:46 mark.

After another goal from Steinberg, senior attacker Jessica Sturgill pulled Yale back within one by driving and making a nice move in the 8-meter fan for a goal at 19:32.

The Big Red took advantage of a Yale turnover at 12:49 to go up 4-2, prompting a Yale timeout. Cornell used that as an opportunity to send in Kyla Dambach in relief of Reese, a senior getting the start on Senior Day at Schoellkopf.

Steinberg scored again at 9:31, and a minute later the Bulldogs caught a tough break. Senior defender Claire Eliasberg appeared to have come up with a turnover just outside the crease, but a foul was called on the play. Attacker/midfielder Libby Johnson got a free position out of it, and turned that into a goal to make it 6-2.

After freshman midfielder Brittany De Lea helped force a Cornell turnover and also chased down a loose ball to prevent a Yale turnover on the ensuing possession, Sturgill buried a free position attempt to bring Yale within 6-3 with 3:16 left in the half.

The Bulldogs then had a pair of chances to score again. An offside call on Cornell gave Yale one possession and a caused turnover by junior defender Fielding Kidd gave Yale another, but the Bulldogs could not convert either possession into a goal.

Yale came out strong at the start of the second half, overcoming some bad luck early on when a shot by sophomore attacker Caroline Crow hit the post. After a save by Quackenbush on a free position attempt, freshman midfielder Devon Rhodes drove in for her 27th goal of the season.

Rhodes' goal made it 6-4 with 21:10 left, and after she got the draw control she set up Crow for another shot -- but once again the Bulldogs were denied by the goalpost. Crow responded by breaking up the Big Red clear attempt with an interception, but Flatley had her shot partially blocked and it sailed wide. Dambach then came up with a pair of saves on Rhodes, including one on a free position shot.

Steinberg continued to put on a show at the other end of the field, scoring again at 15:46 when she momentarily lost possession in front of the goal but was quickly able to pick up the ball and fire it past Quackenbush.

Sturgill answered with a free position goal two and a half minutes later, giving Yale a 3-1 run. There wound up being a span of 27:41 during the middle of the game in which the Bulldogs allowed just that one goal.

"We finally started to get some composure and run the offense," said Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. "In the first half, we struggled with clearing the ball and we struggled with turnovers [10 of Yale's 14 turnovers were in the first half]. We were fine on draw controls, but the turnovers haunted us and came at inopportune times."

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