On Wednesday, the Cornell women’s lacrosse team will face off against an unlikely west coast opponent — University of California, Berkeley— in a contest that is sure to prove exciting.
The Red (5-0, 2-0 Ivy) hope to topple the Golden Bears (3-4, 1-1 MPSF) and continue its undefeated streak to open the season, but its west coast challengers is currently riding a wave of momentum from winning three of their last four games.
Cornell has been having a phenomenal season thus far, managing to topple all opponents. The team is led by strong performances on the offensive end by seniors Olivia Mattyasovszky, who is also a staff writer for The Sun, and Emily Tripodi, as well as sophomore Taylor Reed. On the defensive end, they have been anchored by junior Catie Smith and senior Brittany Marriott.
The team had a break last week with no games played, but they have spent the week refining their play on both sides of the ball.
“We are just focused on being better than we were the game before,” Tripodi said. “We have been lucky enough to have a week of practices with no game last week, and I think we have really started to iron out some of the kinks. Definitely playing a full 60 minutes is on the top of our list, really ending with the same energy that we started the game with.”
Last year, Cornell travelled to California to play the Golden Bears and posted a program record number of goals in a 23-6 victory. However, even with the win from last year still fresh in the series between Cornell and Cal, the Red is staying focused on intense and focused play.
“Each year is different, so there is no guarantee that we will be able to repeat our stellar performance against Cal that we had last year,” Marriott said. “With each and every game we need to bring the energy and focus in order to play the high level of lacrosse this team is capable of. I’m confident in my team’s ability to play well every game, and hopefully that will lead to the outcome we want.”
The Golden Bears are coming off a rocky start to a season, which has recently begun to look upward for them. The team started the year 0-3 and have since improved to 3-4, winning their last game on Sunday 10-9 with a huge overtime goal.
This Wednesday will only be the second time in the last four years that Cornell is playing Cal. Although the Red got a great result last year, head coach Jenny Graap is aware they might not know what to expect on Wednesday.
“We played the Golden Bears in Berkeley last year over Spring Break, and our team played very well on the West Coast beating both Cal and Stanford,” Graap said. “Cal is a much improved team from 2015, and I have been impressed by what I’ve seen on film recently. I have a lot of respect for Brooke Eubanks and her coaching staff, and it’s clear their team speed, goalkeeping and offensive firepower have all stepped up considerably.”
The game on Wednesday is sure to be an exciting matchup, and hopefully the Red will be able to continue to elevate their performance on the field to keep winning, especially in front of the home crowd at Schoellkopf. Cornell’s women’s lacrosse team is one of only three Division I teams that is yet to lose a game, yet it is the only one of the three without a national ranking.
After facing off against Cal, the Red’s schedule ramps up and they will face three teams, including the defending national champions in Maryland over spring break. If all goes well, Cornell’s play over the next few weeks could bring them into view on the national stage.