In every season a team will inevitably face adversity. On Sunday, it stared at the women’s lacrosse team, hard. The team was coming off its humbling 9-2 loss to defending NCAA Champions Princeton, and its opponent was the Vanderbilt Commodores, who knocked off No. 2 Duke earlier in the week. The laxers never even thought of blinking. Vanderbilt struck first, but the Red answered with eight consecutive points and never let the Commodores seriously challenge for the lead again, winning 14-6.
“It felt like a team victory, which was really nice,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86.
“Given the disappointment of Friday night’s experience, I’m ecstatic that we played so well,” Graap continued.
Down 8-1 midway through the first, Vanderbilt made a comeback attempt at the end of the first, battling back with three goals in a row to give Cornell an 8-4 lead at the half. After that, the team made its stand.
“In the second half it was crucial for us to score,” explained Graap. The Red did just that, stepping up on both sides of the ball to neutralize the mini-rally and outscore the Commodores 6-2 in the half. Graap said she was pleased with her team’s response to the pressure.
“It’s basically a total improvement over Princeton,” she said. “It was really more composure.”
Graap noted that the team did a better job controlling the pace on offense, staying patient and working the ball around to create scoring chances. It also improved its midfield defense and effectively controlled Vanderbilt’s leading scorers.
“Overall, it was a much better team effort,” concluded Graap. “We focused on the improvement, what we could control.”
Freshman Allison Schindler and sophomore Lindsay Steinberg led the way for Cornell. Steinberg had three goals, while Schindler tallied one score and a school-record tying six assists. She continually made the feeds from the back of the net to keep the Red on top.
“She was on fire today,” said Graap. “Her timing was perfect.”
“The girls were working really hard to get open,” said Schindler.
It was only a matter of getting them the ball.
Senior captains Rachel Friedman and Erica Holveck both took advantage of chances to emerge from the defense to notch goals too. It was Holveck’s first goal of the season, and Friedman’s first career goal.
“She’s obviously capable,” said Graap about Friedman. “She knows what she’s doing.”
In the end though, she emphasized the team’s improvement over the weekend. The ball control, tough midfield defense and most importantly the composure all added together to contribute to the victory on Sunday.
“When you take care of the details the outcome is not a problem,” said Graap.
“We learned a lot from Friday as far as how we played,” added Schindler. “We learned from it, came out and did what we needed to do.”
The laxers play No. 10 Ohio State, this Friday at 4 p.m.
Archived article by Matt James