This Saturday, the women’s lacrosse teams’ seniors will play their last regular season match on Schoellkopf Field. For these six women, it has been an outstanding run, from their ECAC championship in 2000 to their final four appearance last season.
"It’s been a great experience for me [here at Cornell]," said senior co-captain Erica Holveck. "I can’t imagine what my career here would have been like without [Cornell athletics]."
When Sarah Averson, Abby Bayer, Sarah Fischer, Rachel Friedman, Katie Lavin, and Holveck came to Cornell in fall 1999, none of them could have possibly imagined the success the team would have in these past four years. Despite a somewhat disappointing run this year, the Red capped off its successes last year when it fought its way to the final four. The squad only lost to Georgetown in an overtime nail biter after Fischer had tied the game up with only 17 seconds left in regulation.
"I think we exceeded [our expectations]," said Lavin. "I knew coming into Cornell as a recruit [that women’s lacrosse] was an up and coming program, [and] I didn’t know what to expect."
Despite low expectations, this year’s senior class started off in its freshman year with a bang. These seniors haven’t taken a break, either. The 2000 squad went 13-4 and was the ECAC champion. In 2001, despite a major increase in the quality of its opponents, the Red was able to go 11-4 and earn its first NCAA tournament birth in program history. Last year was Cornell’s most successful season ever. The Red went 16-2 and made its way all the way to the final four for the first time ever.
"I think our class is a really hard-working class," explained Holveck. "I think we have a really good work ethic and I think we’re a very talented class."
On top of being one of the best classes in Cornell women’s lacrosse history, these seniors have all been individual successes. For example, Averson spent a summer with the U.S. Lacrosse developmental squad, a major honor. "Aves" also is a candidate for the Tewaaraton Trophy, which is awarded to the national player of the year.
"We’ve done a lot of things from our freshman year," said Averson. "I came here because I loved the game."
While Averson has been the major factor in this team’s success, the other seniors have all had great careers. For instance, after being a key reserve for three seasons, Beyer cracked into the starting lineup this season.
"We’re all leaders out there," said Beyer. "We’ve really made a cohesive team."
Also, Fischer has been a major force on offense throughout her career here at Cornell. "Fish" was an honorable mention All-Ivy pick last season, and has continued success despite suffering from injuries this season and her freshman year.
When asked what she would miss most about Cornell, Fischer responded in her typical light-hearted fashion.
"We’ll miss the weather," she joked.
On the defensive end, co-captain Friedman helped propel the Red’s defense to the top nationally. Friedman currently leads the Red with 53 ground balls. And, her leadership on the field simply cannot be measured numerically.
When asked about playing her last game against Harvard, Friedman said, "It’s bittersweet. All the seniors are ready to get out there and just have fun."
Holveck has made the transitions for the Red for the past four years. As competent as she has been on offense in her career, she has been a mainstay on defense this season. Last year, Holveck led the team in caused turnovers.
"[Lacrosse] been my life here," said Holveck. "To go as far as we did and to be so successful, I think that was way beyond what I ever dreamed of."
Last, but certainly not least, Lavin has demonstrated her versatility this season, playing at defense, midfield, and attack. A member of the Red Key Athletic Honorary Society, Lavin has played in every game for the past two seasons.
"This school has had a lot to offer overall," said Lavin. "You can’t compare [Cornell] to anything."
While losing this year’s seniors will be tough for the team, the Class of 2003 has had one heck of a run. There is no question that this year’s senior class will be one to remember.
Archived article by Michael Pandolfini