Cornell women’s softball will face four opponents over Spring Break, beginning with a doubleheader against George Washington (11-12) in Washington D.C. on March 29. The next day, the Red heads to Poughkeepsie for a pair with Marist (17-7). Cornell finishes the break with its first two home games of the season, against Ivy opponents Harvard (9-10) on April Fools Day and Dartmouth (7-8) on April 2.
Cornell had gone winless over its first ten games before beating Georgetown last Saturday. According to head coach Julie Farnow ’97, finally coming out on top instills confidence that her team is on the right track.
“The good thing about that win is it showed us what we need to do to win,” she said. “Our hitters were aggressive. We got a lead early in the game and we held onto it.”
Senior pitcher Meg Parker is also optimistic.
“It’s definitely a relief,” she said. “We’re over that hump.”
Farnow is happy with the positive steps her pitchers are taking, as evident in their results last weekend and in practice this week. She said the 13-0 loss to St. Francis after the Georgetown victory was in heavy rain, so she doesn’t look at that game as an indicator of performance.
“The other three games, we did throw the ball well,” she said. “They’re really starting to zone in.”
Parker acknowledged the improvement but knows there is still a lot of work to be done.
“I feel like I improved from last time,” she said. “There is still a lot work to be done.”
The George Washington and Marist games offer the final in-season action before games start counting in the Ivy standings. According to senior catcher Leanne Iannucci, playing actual games is one of the best ways to improve.
“It’ll be good to get some reps in,” she said.
Farnow and the Red are anticipating both out-of-league opponents to play well.
“We played George Washington last year,” she said. “They’ll be good competition … they’re pretty solid. We’ve always had very close games against them.”
“Marist is a very tough team,” she added. “They are a very fast team [and] have a ton of stolen bases.”
Iannucci said that while the Red has seen most of these teams in recent years, class turnover means no two seasons for a given team are exactly the same.
“We don’t really know until you actually play them,” she said.
After George Washington and Marist, Cornell will have played its first sixteen games on the road. The Harvard doubleheader is the Red’s first home stint of the year and will be the first games in the renovated Niemand*Robinson Field.
“We’re kind of road warriors,” Farnow said. “I think [the advantage of playing at home] is familiarity.”
The Red are well aware that they have a clean slate going into Ivy League competition, given that Ivy League standings are determined solely from the outcomes of games between Ivy opponents.
“Really, the season starts this week for us,” Farnow said. “If we win one game in March but a lot in April, that’s okay.’”
Nonetheless, Ivy League competition will be very good this season.
Dartmouth took five of six games on the West Coast last weekend, including a win against Stanford. Farnow said the Red will try to cast aside school rivalries and its own non-league record and focus on one game at a time.
“Part of that goes to treating every opponent the same way,” she said. “[We’ll do well] if we just look at each game as a softball game that we need to put all the pieces together and win.”