Forty degrees and raining. Welcome to Ithaca in April.
“I have a feeling that the other teams are none too thrilled about coming north for the weekend,” said women’s lacrosse coach Jenny Graap ’86. “The New York weather will likely play into the weekend.”
And the No. 7 Red will be looking for every advantage it can get this weekend. Defending national champion Princeton faces off against Cornell at 7:00 this evening on Schoellkopf Field, while No. 20 Vanderbilt visits on Sunday.
The game against Princeton might turn out to be one of the biggest this season for the Red.
“This could have some serious implications on who wins the league,” said Graap.
Cornell and the Tigers were picked for a one-two finish in the Ivies this year, and both are undefeated in league play. The Red earned a 2-0 league record against Penn and Columbia while Princeton beat the Lions for a 1-0 mark. This game stands in both teams’ path to an Ivy title.
“We definitely see this as important in the Ivy League,” said Graap. “This could be a very crucial match”
Picked as the No. 1 team in the country in several preseason polls, the Tigers stumbled out of the gate with a 1-3 start. Those losses, however, were to No. 2 Loyola, No. 4 Virginia, and No. 3 Duke. Princeton has since defeated No. 6 Georgetown and No. 11 Penn State.
With these games in mind, Cornell will be ready for the ladies from New Jersey. In the past, said Graap, the team has looked up to the Tigers as a team, but that will not be the case this time.
“Now we need to be looking right at them, not up at them,” said Graap. “We need to treat this game just like any other game.”
Princeton’s skill and experience in tough games will likely prove to be its greatest assets. The team has played against the best in the country.
“They’ve learned a lot in some close, competitive games,” said Graap. “They’ve gained a lot of valuable knowledge and experience.”
The Red, however, has done pretty well for itself in past weeks as well. The team has earned a No. 7 ranking on the back of a 6-0 overall record, including victories against Penn and No. 15 Notre Dame.
“It’s not about Cornell playing perfectly, or [playing] better,” said Graap. “We just need to keep our confidence and not go into this game with a different outlook.”
Riding its six-game winning streak and a solid mixture of attack, defense and the goaltending of junior Ashley Charron, the Red has no intention of blinking in front of the Tigers. The team wants a win.
At the same time though, the Red refuses to put any additional pressure on itself.
“We’re trying not to make it so huge that it’s more than a 60 minute game,” said Graap.
The Red will play Vanderbilt on Sunday at noon. Coming off a surprising Wednesday night victory over Duke, Vanderbilt (4-4) will be a dangerous team to face this weekend.
“Vandy just beat the No. 2 team in the country,” Graap noted. “They’re going to come into here with a lot of energy and bravado.”
Archived article by Matt James