No. 20 Cornell Holds Off Yale, 13-7, to Claim Final Ivy Playoff Spot

Devon Rhodes. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Devon Rhodes. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs Recognize Amendola, Rhodes on Senior Day

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – An Ivy League women's lacrosse playoff spot got determined Saturday afternoon at Reese Stadium, and unfortunately for Yale it was No. 20 Cornell that got it. The Big Red jumped out to a 6-1 lead by halftime, then held on for a 13-7 win that finalized the fourth spot in the Ancient Eight's tournament. Yale got goals from six different players but saw its postseason hopes evaporate in part because the Bulldogs shot just 7-for-29.

"The effort was there, and we got some good minutes from kids off the bench," said Anne Phillips, Yale's Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Women's Lacrosse. "The defense played well, we didn't foul too much and our turnovers were not too bad. But we needed to shoot better, dominate on the draw control more, or get some more saves in order to come away with a win."

Yale (7-6, 1-5 Ivy League) was stymied on attack in part by hitting the post with multiple shots, and also by a 10-save performance from Cornell goalkeeper Carly Gniewek. Gniewek made eight of those saves in the first half, when five different Cornell players scored to help build the 6-1 lead. The Bulldogs' only goal came from sophomore midfielder Cathryn Avallone, who stick-checked the ball away from Cornell deep in Big Red territory, scooped up the ground ball and drove in for the goal at the 14:26 mark.

Avallone hit the post in the final minute of play of the half, otherwise the Bulldogs would have been slightly closer entering the second. As it was, they scored three of the first four goals of that half to get within 7-4 with 18:36 left.

Sophomore midfielder Kerri Fleishhacker started the run by scoring after junior defender Adrienne Tarver caused a Cornell turnover and got the ground ball. After Cornell responded with a goal, senior attacker Devon Rhodes drove to goal, drew a double team, then passed to Avallone at the side of the cage for a goal 33 seconds after Cornell scored.

Junior attacker Jen DeVito then came around from behind the cage to score from a tough angle and pull the Bulldogs within three. But the Big Red answered with a pair of goals in a three-minute span, including the 36th of the year for attacker Lindsay Toppe (who scored four on the day).

Freshman midfielder Nicole Daniggelis pulled Yale back within four by driving and firing in a high shot for her 31st goal of the year, but after a Bulldog turnover Cornell scored again 90 seconds later.  

Sophomore midfielder Christina Doherty then got the ensuing draw control and passed across the field to sophomore midfielder Erin Magnuson. Magnuson drove in from the restraining line area, spun off a defender and side armed in her 14th goal of the year to make the score 10-6 Cornell with 10:33 to play.

Cornell answered with a goal from attacker Emily Tripodi two minutes later, but Rhodes -- who was honored along with defender Adrianna Amendola before the game as part of Senior Day -- bounced one in on a free position right after that. That was her 31st goal of the year and 95th of her career.

But that would also be the Bulldogs' last goal of the game. Doherty got the draw control, but Gniewek made a save on Daniggelis and after a Yale turnover the Bulldogs spent most of the rest of the game on defense. Two Cornell goals in the final four minutes made the final score 13-7. Junior goalkeeper Erin McMullan finished with six saves.

With the win Cornell clinches the fourth and final spot in the Ivy League playoffs; Dartmouth, Penn and Princeton had already clinched.

With two games left in the season, Yale has already shown many signs of improvement over last year -- including two more wins and seven more goals already. After losing to the Big Red 17-9 last year, the Bulldogs showed on Saturday that they had closed the gap -- but they still came up short of keeping their postseason hopes alive. Wins over Cornell and Brown (whom Yale plays next Saturday) could have punched Yale's ticket to the Ivy tournament.

"The team has worked hard all season, and will be that much better next year," said Phillips. "The future looks good, but a game like this shows that we could have gotten there this year. That would have been great for our seniors."

Yale hosts BU on Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.

Report by Sam Rubin '95 (, Yale Sports Publicity


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