April 3, 2003

Underclassmen Contribute to Women's Lax

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While the women’s lacrosse team’s veterans have been making waves all season, the freshmen and sophomores are ready to make a splash of their own for the No. 7 Red.

As key reserves last season, the sophomores have moved into the starting lineup and are already making an impact. After arriving on the East Hill in the fall, the freshmen have stepped up to the college game and have produced some impressive performances already this season.

“I’m very pleased with how the sophomores have done as a class. They’re a cohesive group, they get along and support each other really well,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “The freshmen class is another example of a group that gets along well towards each other and they’ve been embraced by the rest of the team.”

At midfield, sophomore Lindsay Steinberg has emerged as a serious scoring threat to complement the senior duo of Sarah Fischer and Sarah Averson. Making the first start of her career during the season opener against Notre Dame, Steinberg recorded a career-high four goals. Her efforts did not go unnoticed by the opposition, as she was marked by Rutgers’ best defender in the very next game.

Classmate Julia Hughey has also enjoyed tremendous success at midfield, winning the majority of the draw controls she has taken this year. As a starter this season, she also provides more speed and size at the midfield, and was the only letter winner in last year’s freshmen class. After suffering an injury during practice over spring break, Hughey returned to the lineup in last weekend’s game against Penn.

“Being a part of the starting lineup this season was a big transition in that last year I spent the opening minutes of the game on the sidelines,” said Hughey. “Those first few minutes usually set the tone of the game, so now that I am part of the starting team, I feel a lot more pressure to perform. Yet I am also much more confident this year because I was given the opportunity to see some playing time in many of last season’s games.”

Also in the midfield, sophomore Jessica Williams has been a consistent starter this year, and has great potential on the offensive end. As she is integrated more into the offensive unit, Williams’ scoring will increase thanks to her incredible shot.

Sophomore Kristen Smith is one of the fastest players on the team and has gotten substantial playing time this year after seeing limited action as a freshman. She is one of six players with 10 or more points this season.

On the defensive end, sophomore Annie Berkery has improved a great deal since last season and is developing into a solid force in the backfield. She has shown her hard work in the offseason in her conditioning and fits well within the defensive unit.

As the biggest of the four classes with nine members, the freshman class has spent the season’s first several games adjusting to the college game and has fit in well with the rest of the team.

“I think that freshmen year is always a transition. A lot of these women were stars on their high school teams, and now they come into a really established program and they have to raise their intensity up a level,” commented Graap. “You see that certainly with our freshman goalkeeper Maggie Fava. Maggie is a goalie who is improving by leaps and bounds, and is getting used to the faster paced shots and [improving her technique],” she continued.

Fava has seen playing time in four games so far this season behind junior starter Ashley Charron, and is gaining a lot of confidence in net.

Classmate Allison Schindler has started in the team’s last two games, and has not disappointed. Against Columbia, she tied a school record with nine ground balls, while chipping in a goal and two assists. She is fifth on the team in scoring with four goals and a team-high eight assists.

“On the field, [Allison] is a just a natural in terms of understanding where to pass the ball and movement, she’s very creative, and very skilled in that regard. She just sees the field well,” said Graap.

The Red’s upperclassmen have gone to great lengths to make sure the freshmen are fitting in well with the team and at Cornell.

“Our upperclassmen and all the girls on the team have been so awesome in helping the freshmen adjust to college lacrosse and college life. They’ve helped us with scheduling classes, introducing us to new people, and have always been there to help us in any situation. They have made the transition into college so much easier for all the freshmen, and they’ve really made us feel apart of team,” said Schindler.

The Red’s underclassmen certainly provide depth at every position, and will only to continue to improve this season and in their years to come at Cornell.

Archived article by Jonathan Auerbach