You want a dominating team? It fits the bill. The women’s lacrosse team returns to its home field this afternoon looking to continue one of its best seasons ever. The laxers match up against Delaware at 4:30 on Schoellkopf Field.
The Red, ranked sixth in this week’s Division I coaches’ poll, has a 12-1 overall record and a 6-1 Ivy mark, its best ever, good for second place in the league behind No. 1 Princeton.
Currently the laxers ride a seven-game winning streak, and while they appreciate their accomplishments thus far, no one will be coasting. The team has postseason goals, and to achieve those it needs to keep winning.
Ivy champion Princeton will receive the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, leaving Cornell to fight for an at-large bid to the big contest. Victories over unranked Delaware and No. 18 Johns Hopkins will go a long way toward supporting the Red’s case and guaranteeing a bid.
Additionally, the Red looks to keep improving and seal an undefeated home record for the year. That won’t necessarily be easy, though. Head coach Jenny Graap ’86 noted that Delaware might be a tougher opponent than it appears.
“I think they are a very athletic, very physical team,” said Graap, “and I think they are a better team than their record might indicate.”
The Blue Hens come to town with a slightly deceiving 4-10 overall record. Eight of the team’s 10 losses come from top 20 teams, and seven of its losses were by two or fewer goals. Delaware has also won two of its last three, including victories over then No. 19 George Mason and Hofstra. Last weekend the Blue Hens fell to No. 19 Temple 11-10.
Because of their tough schedule, the Blue Hens’ poor record and lack of a ranking are not totally relevant, according to Graap.
Delaware has several weapons, including an excellent senior goalkeeper, team captain Laurie Tortorelli. Tortorelli ranks 14th in the country in save percentage with a .559 mark for the season. Any team with an elite goalie is a dangerous opponent, Graap pointed out.
“We will have to play very good defense ourselves,” Graap noted.
She also spoke about the importance of the game to get Cornell back on top of its game after last weekend’s tough Harvard contest on Saturday.
“You can’t go into games like we went into Harvard,” said Graap.
A scary first half was marked by mistakes and a lackluster defense by Cornell. Harvard capitalized to run out to a 7-4 lead at halftime.
Junior attacker Sarah Fischer helped keep the team in the game early with three of the four goals in the first half.
In the second, though, the team managed to play its way back from the brink. The defense locked down, holding the Crimson to a single goal in the second half and allowing the offense to bring the Red back for a 9-8 victory. Senior All-American Jaimee Reynolds took over there.
The midfielder had a hand in all of Cornell’s second half goals. A little more than ten minutes in, she got things rolling with a free-position score and continued with an assist on the Red’s next goal. It was lights out after that. Reynolds scored two to pull the team into a tie with Harvard then nailed the game winner with 9:14 left.
For her efforts, Reynolds was named Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week for the second week in a row yesterday. This is Reynolds’s fifth Player of the Week award. She has also been named Defensive Player of the Week three times.
For the team though, the contest wasn’t so pleasing.
“We were significantly frustrated at the end of that game, and this will be a significant game for us to get back on track,” said Graap about today’s matchup with Delaware.
Reynolds and the rest of the team look to continue their domination, and have proven they are unlikely to let down. If they produce the game they are capable of a win shouldn’t be a problem. The most important things, Graap concluded, were hard work, toughness, and desire.
“That’s a really significant factor,” Graap said, “who wants it more.”
Archived article by Matt James