After taking the women’s lacrosse team to its first ever Final Four in 2002, head coach Jenny Graap ’86 has a simple goal in mind for this season.
“I think we’d like to build on the experience of last season and improve if we can and to win the national championship would be great,” she said.
That may sound like a daunting task, but the lady laxers are up to the challenge. Despite graduating nine seniors, including four time All-American and Ivy League Player of the Year Jaimee Reynolds ’02, this year’s squad is again poised to make a run at the Ivy and national titles.
“My philosophy is that we have to take one game at a time and focus on the opponent at hand. It’s a long season, and we have to earn our ranking and a berth in the postseason,” commented Graap.
While the faces may have changed, the team is still built around a dominating defense and a talented corps of offensive weapons.
For the first time in three seasons, there will be a new goalkeeper between the pipes in junior Ashley Charron. Playing behind Carrie Giancola ’02 her first two seasons, Charron is ready to step up, earning two victories in her first two starts of the 2003 season. Freshman Maggie Fava comes to Cornell from Garrison Forest High in Maryland, where she was an All-American honorable mention her senior year.
The Red was ranked fourth in scoring defense last season, only allowing its opponents an average of 7.47 goals per game. Senior co-captain Rachel Friedman will be the leader in the backfield again this season. A three-year starter, she scooped up 27 ground balls and caused 11 turnovers. Joining her will be classmates Katie Lavin and Abby Beyer, who add size and skill to the defensive unit. As a defensive midfielder, senior co-captain Erica Holveck will also be a force in the back.
“Our goal for the defense is to keep it that we’re recognized for shutting top attackers down and having the most communication and the toughest defense. I think that as a unit, that’s something we’re going to try to keep this year,” says Holveck.
“We build our reputation on very strong defense,” agreed Graap.
Holveck will be a threat at both ends of the field, as she is an aggressive defender, and her speed is a vital part of the Red’s transition game. Juniors Katie Hirschfield and Jamie Quinn provide an offensive punch in the middle. At 5-11, Quinn is the tallest player on the team and has shown promise after breaking into the starting lineup last season. Sophomore Julia Hughey is expected to be a big contributor at center, while classmate Jessica Williams has shown great scoring ability.
“Midfield for me is speed, and it’s also ball-handling and the transition game. Moving the ball upfield with speed and being able to dodge quickly is important, so the players getting time in the midfield tend to be the ones with the best endurance and the best speed on the team. We’ve got a lot of depth at midfield,” commented Graap.
The attack is led by a pair of Sarahs — seniors Sarah Fischer and Sarah Averson. Having played together for four years, Fischer and Averson have posted impressive numbers, scoring 32 and 34 goals respectively last season.
“They work really well together as a set unit,” said Friedman. “[Our offense] works the ball around when we need to, or we can score off a fast break.”
Sophomore Lindsay Steinberg is developing into another offensive weapon. In her first career start against Notre Dame, she netted four goals, and in her next game was marked by Rutgers’ best defender.
“If [our opponents] key in on our top attackers, then we’re going to need to look to the next group of offense to step up and really produce some numbers,” remarked Graap.
Archived article by Jonathan Auerbach