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Women’s lacrosse goes on six-goal run to beat Cornell

Strong offensive, defensive performances fuel Bears to first Ivy League victory, stretch winning streak

Entering the weekend, the women’s lacrosse team hoped to secure its first Ivy League victory of the season against a No. 23 ranked Cornell team. The Bears (8-4, 1-3 Ivy) did just that, as a second-half comeback proved enough to down Cornell (6-5, 2-2 Ivy) in a nail-biter finish.

“There was a lot of emotion and hype surrounding this game,” said Bri Irons ’18.  “But the biggest thing going into (Saturday) was us focusing on Brown lacrosse … just really focusing on trusting each other, trusting our system.”

Brown’s offense got off to a fast start, and opened scoring with back-to-back goals by first-year phenoms Risa Mosenthal ’21 and Maggie Fowler ’21 in the first three minutes of play.

Cornell responded with a goal about two minutes later, which Emma Dahle ’18 answered to lengthen the Bears’ lead. Another point from Cornell set the game at 3-2 in favor of Brown with just under 22 minutes remaining in the first half.

The next four goals were a Paletta family affair. Bruno earned the first point off a goal from Carolyn Paletta ’18,  while the next two were scored by Carolyn’s sister and Big Red freshman, Grace Paletta. Not to be outmatched, Brown’s Paletta scored once more with 13:50 remaining in the period.

Mosenthal found the back of the net under a minute later with her second goal of the game and gave the Bears a two-point lead. But Cornell trimmed the advantage by one with just over two minutes remaining in the frame.

A goal scored by Cornell with one second left in the period sent the teams into halftime at a 6-6 draw.

Cornell controlled the first five minutes of the second half, and mounted a three-goal run to set the game at 9-6.

Fowler responded for Bruno with a tally 30 seconds later. Paletta quickly followed, placing the Bears within one goal of the Big Red. But Cornell’s offense began to rally and scored four unanswered goals in about as many minutes.

Nevertheless, Bruno found a way to bounce back in the final 18 minutes of the contest.

“In the second half, we switched our defensive set to a zone, which was a really big (change), and (Cornell) didn’t score for 18 minutes. Mikaela Karlsson (’18) coming in and having five saves … those were super important for us,” Irons said. “You could tell we had this new confidence that I saw on the field. Even when we were down by five, we didn’t look like we were playing nervous.”

Karlsson entered the contest with 18:37 remaining in the second half and proceeded to save all five shots that came her way for the rest of the game.

Meanwhile, the Bears’ offense found a rhythm after a goal from Zoe Verni ’19 with just under 17 minutes remaining. Paletta followed eight seconds later with a point, her team-leading fourth goal of the afternoon, and set the game at 13-10.

Emma DeGennaro ’20 and Caroline Zaffino ’19 followed with their first goals of the contest, and made it a one-point game with just under eight minutes left to play.

Strong team defensive play continued to give the Bears’ offense opportunities to attack the goal. Verni tied the game at 13 apiece with 3:55 remaining, and Brown took the lead off a goal from Zaffino at the 2:18 mark.

Forcing a shot clock violation on Cornell, Bruno’s defense held on for the remainder of the game and secured Brown’s eighth win of the year.

Overcoming a six-point deficit served as a testament to the team’s unity and composure, Mosenthal stated. “(We) dug deep and realized we had to take care of the ball and make sure we were protecting our defense with goals,” Mosenthal said. “It was … a full team effort — everyone really stepped it up at the end to secure the win.”

Mosenthal’s two goals on the afternoon extended her season total to a team-high 44.

Head Coach Keely McDonald ’00 also highlighted the team’s cohesion. “They stayed positive the whole time, really stayed centered (and) believed in themselves,” McDonald said after the game.  “I think it was just individual effort by each player to stay composed and stick with the game plan.”

The Bears finish the month of April with three more Ivy League games, with the next coming this weekend at Harvard. The team hopes to build on Saturday’s momentum going forward.

“(We) definitely want to focus on playing at our standard and playing how we know we can, which we proved on Saturday against Cornell,” Mosenthal said. “I think we just need to focus on continuing to play at that level, and if we can do that we’ll definitely find success.”



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