As a showing of blue skies in an overall cloudy day, Cornell women’s lacrosse has been granted an at-large bid into the 2017 NCAA Tournament for the team’s second tournament selection in as many years and fifth in program history.
The team will travel to Princeton, N.J. to face Notre Dame in the first round. If Cornell wins its first round matchup, it will face No. 5 overall seed Princeton in the second round. Rounding out the rest of the region is James Madison, Louisville and No. 4 Penn. St.
Cornell and Notre Dame have faced off only 11 times in history, with the Fighting Irish holding a 7-4 edge in the record books. The last matchup came in 2012, when Notre Dame took a 17-13 win at the neutral location of Orlando.
The team will not have to travel quite as far as Orlando for NCAAs, however, and with a 6-1 road record in 2017, travelling in general is not a worry.
“We travel well … [and] we had a tremendous record on the road [this year],” head coach Jenny Graap ’86 said after the Ivy Tournament loss to Princeton Sunday morning. “It doesn’t matter where we are going, but hopefully we can make the best of that.”
Cornell has never faced James Madison nor Louisville in the team’s history, but have many times against both Penn St. and Princeton. The Red have not beaten the Nittany Lions nor Tigers so far this season.
“It doesn’t matter where we are going, but hopefully we can make the best of [it],” Graap added.
The announcement came less than eight hours after the women were denied a second consecutive Ivy Tournament title by Princeton, who took a 12-9 win at Schoellkopf.
The win would have given Cornell an automatic bid to NCAAs, but the team’s regular season, which saw an Ivy League regular season title, was a strong enough push into NCAAs.
Cornell put together an impressive 11-4 overall record, with a 6-1 mark within the Ancient Eight. The team finished the regular season tied for first in the league, but won a tiebreaker for the rights to host the Ivy Tournament.
Despite the loss in the finals, the team is excited to forget the loss and get back to work ahead of the nationals tournament.
“Short memory,” said senior attacker Catherine Ellis. “Every player on the team is going to have to put this game behind us, learn from it.”
Last year Cornell hosted its region of the bracket, defeating Canisius, 15-11, in the first round, but just getting edged by UMass, 7-6, in the second. UMass would go on to get demolished by Maryland, 18-3, in the third round.
“Especially as seniors, we want to keep going as far as we can,” said senior defender Catie Smith.
“This is a great team and I want them … continue to play together because they get better all the time,” Graap added. “Every game is our last game at this point, we know that, so one thing we take a lot of pride in is giving it all and put it out on the line and just represent our great university as well as we can.”