While Cornell students head on their spring break to various destinations, the women’s lacrosse team (2-0, 0-0 Ivy) will be working hard to maintain its current No. 6 ranking in the IWLCA and Inside Lacrosse polls. The Red crushed Rutgers last week, 15-7. This coming week, head coach Jenny Graap ’86 and company head to Fairfield, Delaware, and Columbia, looking to continue their winning ways.
“We’ll be ready,” said Graap. “In general, we feel we need to prepare ourselves not just for Fairfield or [even] every team over spring break. We’re just concentrating on getting our game perfected.”
And perfect is exactly what this group of players has been. Cornell has beaten its opponents by an average of 14-6, won 61.4 percent of its draws, and is averaging an astounding 35 shots per game. But the Red is not quite satisfied.
“I think we always try to keep things changing a little bit,” explained Graap. “Maybe we’ll try some new pressure defenses, maybe we’ll try some new offensive plays, [because] as you evolve through the season, I think you build on what you have [with new] strategies and techniques.”
Fairfield (1-1), Cornell’s first opponent, can be a dangerous squad. The Stags return 10 lettermen from last season’s team, which won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season title. This is also unfamiliar territory for the Red, since this will be the first time it faces Fairfield.
“I think my assistant coach, Phil Barnes, is more familiar with Fairfield than I am since he coached at UMass and has played them many times,” said Graap.
On Wednesday, the Red moves on to face the University of Delaware (1-2), a team that has struggled through the beginning of this season. The Blue Hens recently lost 12-6 to Rutgers, a team that Cornell beat handily in its last game.
“We’re sticking with that one-game-at-a-time approach,” said Graap. “We’re focusing on ourselves, [and] when we hit the road against whoever we play, hopefully [we’ll] play well.”
The final game the Red will play this spring break will be against Columbia (3-0, 0-0). This will be Cornell’s first Ivy League game of the season. The Lions have really come to play this season, winning their first three games against Manhattan, Wagner, and Bucknell. Columbia sports a new head coach in Kerri Whitaker, and is ready to head to the forefront of Ivy League lacrosse. This will most likely be the toughest opponent the Red will face this spring break, and the game comes at the end of the three game road trip.
When asked if her team would be tired from the long haul, Graap responded, “I think we’re conditioned well and we’re ready for a road trip. [With] our cardio fitness, we’ll be OK.”
These three games will be very important for Cornell. The Red begins the trek on Monday when it heads down to Fairfield.
Archived article by Michael Pandolfini