The Cornell women’s lacrosse team continued its impressive season, avenging its loss to Dartmouth last year, winning 12-5 on Saturday. The No. 20 Red (9-1, 4-0 Ivy), remains a top ranked team among other NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse teams.
“It has been a great spring so far. 2016 has really been special,” said head coach Jenny Graap. “I would definitely attribute a lot of our success to the eight seniors. The class of 2016 has really set the goals for the team. They want to win, they’re committed, dedicated and even in today’s effort against Dartmouth, I think the seniors really led the way.”
The senior class certainly geared up for this Ivy League game, according to Graap. The effort from the seniors produced the widest margin of victory against Dartmouth since 2002, when the Red overtook the Green by eight goals.
Graap praised the effort from the seniors, notably Emily Tripodi at attack and Brittany Marriott and Catherine Moubayed for their defense of Dartmouth’s Jaclyn Leto. Moubayed also netted her first career goal.
“I just can’t say enough about the eight seniors,” Graap said. “They really have led this team successfully and I think the best is yet to come.”
Along with the strong upperclassmen core, the Red also possesses a well-developed pool of younger talent. Most of the goals scored in Saturday’s game were either from juniors or sophomores.
“I think our juniors are doing quite well.” Graap said. “Catie Smith in the back field has really been outstanding and consistent for us throughout, our junior goalie Renee Poullott is so strong in the net for us. And then you turn to the midfield with Kristy Gilbert and the juniors on offense like Catherine Ellis and Amie Dickson.”
The sophomores and freshmen had some key moments of playing time as well. Sophomore Joey Coffy initiated the scoring by putting the Red ahead 1-0 just 1:30 into the contest. No freshmen put any points on the board, but Graap recognized their efforts on offense.
“Today, Christie Raymond, one of our freshmen, came in in the midfield, having tough draw control as they were double teaming her,” Graap said. “I thought she really handled that well and got the ball into the attacking end.”
Graap noted that a key to success is balancing the playing time of older, more experienced players with the necessity of playing underclassmen who need to gain that experience.
“We’ve had a few injuries unfortunately in the sophomore class, but I think the young players are starting to take the field and play with maturity,” Graap said. “As we move forward, there’s no doubt that the leadership of the upper class is helping us, but I’m pleased that we’re getting strong contributions from sophomores and freshmen as well. It feels pretty balanced.”
The women’s team has never looked stronger thus far, according to Graap, but the coach emphasized that there is plenty of room to improve.
“Even though our record looks great, I would say we’re far from perfect,” Graap said. “Some of our execution, notably in our game against Maryland over spring break, showed the areas where we absolutely have to improve.”
Despite the great final score, the Red did falter in a few areas. There were a number a turnovers where the defense was not delivering the ball as accurately as they should to the next level of the team, giving Dartmouth the ball back a few times.
“Today we could have shot the ball a bit better, I think we were a little undisciplined, false starting on the eight-meter and going off sides once,” Graap said. “I would say mistakes like those are uncharacteristic for this team normally. Today, the emotion of the moment got to us and we did not execute as sharply. It will never be perfect, but I’m glad we kept fighting the whole game.”
With the Red’s fourth in-conference win in the books, the women look to their next contests against Penn State and Princeton.
“Penn State is a great rival for us and I am looking forward to that game, but the Princeton game will be right on the heels,” Graap said. “Princeton won the conference last year; they’re a team that even in the year we went all the way to the Final Four, they were national champs. They seem like they’ve been a step ahead of us at times even when we’re having a great year.”
Both the Penn State and Princeton matchups will be away. The Red faces the Nittany Lions on Wednesday at Penn State Lacrosse Field followed by Tigers on Saturday at Sherrerd Field.
“The game against Princeton means a lot,” Graap said. “It’s on their home field, and I think we need to be fired up and ready because it’s going to be a fight.”