March 28, 2003

W. Lax Looks to Stay Perfect at Penn

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The intensity will be turned up a notch this weekend for the women’s lacrosse team. The weather is getting warmer and the competition is getting tougher for the laxers (5-0, 1-0 Ivy), as they travel south to Philadelphia to face off against Penn tomorrow.

The Red, No. 7 in the latest coaches’ poll, will face a scrappy opponent in Penn. While the Quakers come into the contest with a 2-5 (0-1 Ivy) record, they have played some of the top teams in the country.

“Penn has played a difficult scheduled so far,” noted head coach Jenny Graap.

Four of the team’s losses have come against ranked teams, No. 1 Loyola, No. 3 Duke, No. 12 Yale and No. 18 Johns Hopkins.

In contrast, Cornell has dominated lesser opponents in its first five games on its way to a 5-0 mark. The Red’s best competition has been No. 14 Notre Dame.

“They’ve played more games and they’ve played a more difficult schedule,” said Graap. The biggest difference, she said, “They’ve played seven games and we’ve only played five.”

At this early stage in the season that little bit of extra experience helps, she said. Penn kept its losses against John’s Hopkins, Temple and Yale close and comes into the game with a tough pair of scorers, junior Lindsey Cassidy and senior Crissy Brook.

“Those two have been putting up numbers on the offensive end,” said Graap.

Cornell comes into the contest off a 15-1 evisceration of Columbia last weekend in both teams’ Ivy opener. Senior attacker Sarah Fischer led the team with three goals and an assist and classmate Sarah Averson and sophomore Lindsay Steinberg each had two goals and an assist. Senior Erica Holveck and sophomore Annie Berkery both caused three turnovers and grabbed five ground balls to lead the defense.

While this week is not likely to be so easy, the Red is ready.

“The history plays into it a little bit,” Graap said.

In 2002 the Cornell pulled out a slim 9-8 victory over the Quakers in the last minute of regulation on its way to a 6-1 Ivy season.

“Last year we had the one goal game against the Quakers,” said Graap. “[It] was definitely a disappointment.”

This year the laxers want to put Penn away convincingly.

“We’re really looking to show them a good game,” explained Graap.

And the Quakers should provide some tough competition with physical play and a tough defense.

“We come into this game knowing that Penn is going to play physical and try to rough us up,” said Graap.

The Red will counter with top scoring seniors Averson and Fischer and a stifling defense lead by Holveck and junior goalkeeper Ashley Charron. In its first five games, Cornell has outscored its competition by an average of 11.6 points. The defense has held its opponents to a meager 4.2 points per game. The ladies look to continue this sort of domination in Pennsylvania to show the Quakers how well they can play.

“We have a little something to prove here,” said Graap.

Archived article by Matt James