No. 17 women’s lacrosse (4–3 overall, 1–1 Ivy League) secured their first Ivy League victory of the season against the unrankedCornell Big Red (6–3, 2–1) on Saturday, March 25 in Ithaca. The cold weather did not stop Princeton’s dominance on both sides of the field, as they won the game, 15–11.
Cornell started strong with six goals in the first quarter. While the Tigers fought hard, they were unable to match the Big Red offense. However, two big Princeton breakthroughs came from sophomore midfielder Sophie Whiteway, who scored after driving in and firing an aggressive shot, and sophomore midfielder Nina Montes. Montes scored her first goal of what would be a stunning six-goal performance in the game.
Cornell continued to put pressure on the Tigers throughout the first half, but once the Princeton defense found their rhythm, the Tigers were able to narrow the gap in the second quarter and held the Big Red to only two goals.
Meanwhile, Montes shocked the Cornell defense with four more goals before the end of the half, keeping the Tigers in the game. Two of Montes’ goals were from free possessions, and the remaining four were unassisted. The momentum began to shift in favor of the Tigers, but still, they were down 8–6 at the half.
Junior midfielder Kari Buonanno scored her first goal of the game two minutes into the second half after earning two consecutive free possessions. A minute later, Montes had possession of the ball once again and could not be stopped. The ball found the back of the net after her massive 15-yard drive to the goal to tie the game at 8–8. Whiteway then put up another goal for the Tigers’ first lead of the day.
But Cornell was not ready to let the Tigers pull away just yet. The Big Red locked in two more goals, and the fight continued. First-year attacker Jami MacDonald capitalized on her free possession and tied the game back up for the Tigers with one second left in the third quarter.
Tensions were high as a win was in sight for both teams with only one quarter left of play. The defense made the difference for the Tigers in the last minutes, and Princeton held Cornell to only one goal. First-year goalkeeper Amelia Hughes had a stellar performance, making major stops throughout the game.
“Momentum played a huge role in our game,” Hughes told The Daily Princetonian. “Once we started winning draw controls and forcing key turnovers that led to goals, we were able to get ourselves out of a hole very quickly. It boosted our energy all around and really helped us to win the game.”
Sophomore attacker McKenzie Blake played hard for the Tigers, scoring three goals in the last quarter and 20 goals this season overall, and junior attacker Grace Tauckus put another in for the Tigers after a major turnover by Buonanno.
In the closing moments, Princeton played one woman up after a penalty on Cornell and took advantage of the opportunity. Junior attacker Ellie Mueller sealed the win for the Tigers with her goal, making the final score 15–11.
The Tigers will face the No. 2 Maryland Terrapins (8–3, 1–0 Big Ten) on the road Wednesday, March 29 at 8 p.m.
Evelyn Walsh is a staff writer for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’
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