When a midseason losing streak pops up, there can be many different causes. But in most cases, it’s straying from the fundamentals that will cost a team tight games. For much of Penn women’s lacrosse’s season, that has been the case.
The Quakers (3-8, 0-3 Ivy) dropped their fourth consecutive game, this time losing a Saturday afternoon road contest with Cornell (7-4, 3-1). Penn found the goal first at Schoellkopf Field, but it was all Big Red for the rest of the four quarters, with Cornell cruising to a 13-9 win.
In the opening minutes of the game, sophomore midfielder Kaitlyn Cumiskey scored an unassisted goal, her 13th score of the season. Cornell answered, though, tallying goals from Amanda Cramer and Josie Vogel.
Stopping Cramer and Vogel remained a challenge for the Quakers all afternoon, with the pair of attackers scoring a combined five goals. The Big Red’s offensive outpouring was also supplemented by senior Genevieve Dewinter, who has found the net 21 times this season.
Despite what Penn coach Karin Corbett found to be a good defensive effort, the Big Red had just too many chances to do damage on offense.
“I thought that our defense played pretty well,” Corbett said. “Our four core defenders did a nice job, and I think we just played defense a little bit long unfortunately. We turned the ball over too often, [and] just gave too many opportunities for Cornell.”
A major part of Cornell’s success on offense was the Quakers’ lack of sustained offensive production. Penn turned the ball over 19 times in the contest and had trouble finishing possessions, something that has cost them many times this season.
“I think, for us, it’s about the fundamentals,” Corbett said. “I think that’s where we’re losing some games, just simple catching and throwing. We’ve got to focus on what we’re doing in the moment — catch and throw, handle the pressure, finish our shots, clear the goal cleanly — those kinds of things.”
Saturday’s matchup wasn’t without bright spots for Penn, however. Cumiskey’s two goals continued her breakout sophomore campaign, and six total Quakers managed to find the net across the contest. Perhaps the biggest silver lining in the midst of Penn’s late-season skid, however, has been the emergence of freshman midfielder Anna Brandt. The White Hall, Md. native scored her third hat trick of the season — her second in as many games — and has become a key cog in the Red and Blue’s starting lineup.
Though she’s started every one of Penn’s games this season, her success has grown as the season has progressed.
“I think Anna is playing great,” Corbett said. “She’s just gained confidence. She’s a midfielder, she plays on both ends of the field, and I think she played well on both ends of the field. She’s just a kid who’s very competitive and determined, and she’s playing that way.”
With four games left on the Quakers’ schedule, there is still time for the team to finish above .500 in conference play, and only one of Penn’s four Ivy opponents left on the schedule has a winning record.
The Red and Blue’s first chance to get back into the win column will come on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. when they host Brown (5-5, 2-2) at Franklin Field.