Rutgers' winning streak comes to close in loss to Cornell
Coming into Saturday’s game looking to match its season high three-game win streak, the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team had its hands full with the opponent standing in the way of that feat.
The Scarlet Knights (7-5, 1-1) fell to No. 7 Cornell (7-1, 3-0), 12-9, and had their win streak snapped in their third straight game at High Point Solutions Stadium.
The game got off to a slow start offensively for both teams, as they were each provided with solid efforts from their defenses. That ended when Cornell struck first and took an early lead at the 23:29 mark.
That seemed to have woken up Rutgers, as senior team captain attacker Amanda Turturro ran back and forth behind the goal, before swooping around the right side and tying things up.
“It was definitely a battle,” Turturro said. “It just came down to taking care of the ball, then attacking with it and finishing our shots, which we didn’t do.”
The Big Red proceeded to break things wide open, turning a tied-up game into a 3-goal lead in just two and a half minutes.
The Knights cut the streak at three, scoring back-to-back goals, first from senior team captain midfielder Macy Scott, followed by junior attacker Nicole Kopyta off a pass from Turturro.
Rutgers scored its 3 straight goal, matching the Big Red’s streak with 1 of their own. Freshman midfielder Samantha Budd drove down the middle of the field and swung the ball in to tie the game 4-4 with 2:37 left on the first half clock.
Cornell scored again at the 1:20 mark and took the small 1-goal lead at the halftime horn and into the locker room. It continued exactly where it left off in the first half, scoring the first goal of the second half as well.
The Knights and the Big Red went back and forth from there, with Rutgers scoring twice and Cornell once, to make it 7-6 with 19:04 left to play. The Knights' 2 goals came from Paige Paratore and another Turturro assisted goal, this time for junior attacker Joanna Reilly.
“I just don’t think that we were connecting well,” said Turturro, whose two assists were the only ones in the game for Rutgers.
The Knights tied the game up again, when sophomore attacker Abbey Brooks took a free position shot and put it in the back of the net.
Cornell quickly responded — and then some, scoring 4 straight goals and taking its largest lead of the game. Things were blown wide open at 11-7 with 13:55 to play.
After a quiet 10 minutes, Rutgers got back-to-back goals from senior midfielder Kristina Dunphey to pull the game back to 2 goals with just 1:27 to play.
“It really came down to our shooting, which wasn’t the best,” Dunphey said. “They were obviously a good team, so when we had an opportunity to shoot, we should have been finishing it. That’s on us and for us to work on in practice and figure out for these last four games.”
In what was almost the dramatic climax to the Knights' comeback, Dunphey pulled a similar move that she did the play beforehand, coming from the left and putting the ball back into the net. But the goal was called back for a crease violation, putting a halt to the comeback.
“They said I was in the crease, so it didn’t count but if there were playbacks we could have watched it and seen, but unfortunately there are no playbacks to determine if I was in it or not,” Dunphey said.
The Big Red drove the ball down for one last score, and the game ended in a close one, 12-9 in Cornell’s favor.
“When you look at the stat lines, we should have won the game,” said head coach Laura Brand-Sias. “I think we fought really hard and I would feel differently if we were walking away from playing the No. 7 team in the country and I was saying they were the flat out better team.”
Statistically, Rutgers out-played Cornell, outshooting them, picking up more ground balls and having less turnovers, but ultimately it wasn’t enough. The Knights shot a rough nine for 34 on the game.
Rutgers will return to Piscataway for its fourth straight home game next weekend, with a return to conference play to battle with No. 1 Maryland (11-0, 2-0).
“Putting the ball into the net is something we definitely need to do a better job of down this final stretch,” Brand-Sias said.
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