April 18, 2007

W. Lacrosse Battles Syracuse at Carrier Dome

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After the men’s lacrosse team defeated Syracuse in an epic battle last week, the women’s team is intent on maintaining bragging rights for the Red (3-7, 2-3 Ivy) as they take on the No. 10 Orange (8-4, 3-1 Big East) in the Carrier Dome tonight. The Red, who is coming off an energizing win against Brown last Friday, is determined not to lose that momentum as they face one of their biggest regional rivals.
“The confidence is nice but we are still working out of a losing record,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “We just need to take the focus of off that and just take it one game at a time as we continue to work on improving and being mentally tough.”
The squad improved its total field effort and draw control against Brown, but they will have to continue to build on that if they are going to be competitive against the No. 7 ranked offense in the country. Sophomore Katie Rowan, who has a team-high 36 goals and 15 assists, was just named the Big East Player of the Week for her performance against Rutgers and leads the offensive unit. Freshmen Halley Quillinan is also a dangerous threat with 32 goals and five assists. Although Syracuse is relatively young, with only five seniors and eight freshmen, their relative inexperience has not served as much of a disadvantage this season.[img_assist|nid=22980|title=Keeping her cool.|desc=Junior midfielder Katherine Simmons (14) keeps her composure as a swarm of Tiger defenders attempt to block her path in the Red’s 18-9 loss to Princeton on March 31.|link=node|align=left|width=100|height=69]
“They’ve got speed and skill in all positions and they are having a very strong year. Their style is fast paced, they like to push the tempo of the game and they like to shoot the ball,” Graap said. “That’s been their style for a number of years and they are just executing that really well this spring.”
In goal, the Orange depend solely on sophomore Amber Pardee-Hill who has a posted a .485 save percentage so far this season. Junior Bridget Looney, who also received Big East honors after defeating Rutgers, is a cornerstone of the defensive unit with ten total points in 11 games.
“Syracuse is usually a pretty aggressive team, the give a lot of good checks and take a lot of fouls. They really make you work hard for ground balls and draw controls,” said senior captain Margaux Viola. “Possession time against this team will be huge, they have a lot of offensive threats and are a really solid team defensively.”
The Carrier Dome is an intimidating venue for a squad that is used to outdoor fields. Inside there are many more distractions, especially for the goaltenders and the acoustics make it difficult for the players to hear each other. In order to familiarize themselves with these potential disadvantages, the Red practiced inside on Monday and Tuesday and are prepared for the expected challenges.
“I don’t want to make too big a deal about the Carrier Dome because it’s just another team, its just another game,” Graap said. “Focusing on the setting is the wrong approach for Cornell. We just have to take care of business.”
The Red isn’t tailoring their game to the opponent. Even in the face of stiff competition, the girls maintain that winning is not the main focus. Rather they are focused on playing their own game: fast, tough, consistent lacrosse.
“We want to be tough, resilient and strong. That’s what we are really looking for. They are a ranked team and at this stage of the game we are the underdogs because we are an unranked team coming into the game. We just need to lay it all out there because we have nothing to lose.”