After two road games to start the season, the women’s lacrosse team will return to Schoellkopf Field this weekend for its home opener. No. 17 Cornell (1-1) will look to extend its 7-1 record in home openers under head coach Jenny Graap ’86 when it takes on California (2-2) today at 4 p.m. in the first of two games the Red will play this weekend.
The second matchup of the weekend will feature Hofstra (0-3) on Sunday, as the Pride comes into town for a 1 p.m. game.
This weekend the Red will look to get back to winning ways after dropping a 17-15 decision to No. 13 Notre Dame on Sunday. Sophomore Courtney Farrell contributed six goals to the high-scoring affair, but the Red’s late-game rally fell short. It was the first time in school history that the team lost despite scoring at least 15 goals. The Red is now 42-1 all-time in such games.
California comes to Ithaca after dropping a 13-7 decision to Vanderbilt on Tuesday. The Golden Bears have had an up-and-down season so far, beating No. 20 Stanford and Ohio State, while getting blown out at the hands of Notre Dame.
Offensively, the team is led by sophomore Danni Zuralow, who has recorded nine goals and forced 12 turnovers so far this season. Junior Liz Reifsnyder leads the team in assists with four, to complement her six goals, nine draw controls and 12 ground balls. In net, junior Hillary Lynch has seen the majority of the playing time, recording a 13.54 goals against average, while posting a .430 save percentage.
Hofstra, ranked No. 16 in the preseason polls, is still looking for its first win of the season after dropping its first three games, including one against No. 1 Northwestern. The Pride is 2-0 all-time versus the Red, with both wins coming in the past two seasons.
The team is led on the offensive end by senior Becky Thorn and junior Kimberly Hillier. Thorn is tied with Hillier for the team lead in goals (5) and leads the squad with 13 draw controls. Hillier leads the team in assists, with four, and has added nine draw controls. On the defensive side of the field, senior Jaime Irving leads the team with 10 caused turnovers and 10 ground balls. Sophomore goaltender Maisie Osteen has registered a 13.06 goals against average and a .362 save percentage so far this season.
“Both teams are better than their records reflect and are fast, athletic and scrappy,” Graap said. “California has a diverse group of scorers, a pretty balanced offense, are particularly good at draw controls and have great overall team speed. Hofstra is always physical and always athletic.”
The Red has found its offensive form early in the season, scoring 15 goals in both of its first two games. Leading the way are Farrell and junior Margaux Viola, who each have recorded seven goals and an assist. Junior Allison McKeown, who has played two games so far for the Red after playing soccer for two years at Penn State, leads the team in ground balls with seven. She also leads the team in draw controls, with seven as well. Senior goalie Maggie Fava has been solid in net posting a 12.50 goals against average and a .419 save percentage.
“In both games, we are going to need to step up our defense and be a lot stingier on the defensive end,” Graap said. “We need to foul less, especially in the midfield and be ready to run. Speed will definitely be a factor this weekend.”