Three years ago, no one was sure how good she’d be. Sure, she had the potential. But potential doesn’t always translate to success. Then, the Cornell field hockey team played Colgate on Sept. 20, 2000 and a star was born. Then-freshman Lindsay Grace burst onto the scene with her first career goal — a gamewinner.
Grace wouldn’t stop there. She’d go on to score three more goals as a rookie. She’d follow up a nine-point freshman run with an even better sophomore campaign, notching 14 points, including six goals.
“She’s just been an all-around great player since she’s been a freshman,” said her senior teammate Kimmy Gardner.
Entering her senior year, Grace is coming off her finest season with the Red. Last year, she was named as an attack on the All-Ivy Second Team. Grace was also one of two players on the squad to be named to the Mid-East Region First Team last season, which marked the first time in school history two players were given that honor. Grace and classmate Carissa Mirasol — the Red’s other honoree — accounted for 17 points apiece last year, and will be crucial to the team reaching its high expectations for this season.
The squad finished 2002 with nine victories, tying a school record, but failed to make the postseason.
Interim head coach Philip Sykes noted, “A lot of the upperclassmen want to do well,” which could very well be an understatement for this experienced group, headed by Grace and company.
Grace finished last season ranked second on the team in goals, with five, including game winners in back-to-back games against Lehigh and Yale. She was also second on the team in assists with seven, which more than doubled her total from the two years prior.
When she recorded a point, the Red was 7-1, and when she got hot, so did the team. Grace recorded at least one point in five of the games during the school-record-breaking six-game winning streak and had two multi-goal games, against Lehigh and Columbia. The Columbia game was Grace’s best game last year, as she had a hand in all three of the goals scored by the Red in a 3-1 victory over the Lions.
Grace, a tri-captain, has had a stellar career for the Red. She and Mirasol are tied for seventh all-time in goals with 15, and her 40 points rank her eighth in school history. Against the rest of the Ivy League, she has 15 career points, coming on six goals and three assists. She has played in every game for the Red over the past two seasons, and has recorded 10 career assists.
Yet the most impressive thing about Grace is her focused attitude when it comes to field hockey, and the leadership she brings to the group.
“Lindsay has an infectious attitude and is good with the freshmen because she sets a very good example for them,” Sykes said.
When asked about her career stats and honors, Grace stated, “The honors come after the season, and you don’t even think about them during the season.”
This season is no different in Grace’s eyes.
“I could definitely anticipate postseason play,” she said. “But we are going to take things game by game, weekend by weekend.”
In a new system with a brand new head coach and assistant coach, many upperclassmen would be skeptical, but not Grace.
“Coach Sykes is an excellent teacher, and he has made the transition a lot easier than we all thought it would be,” she said.
Things started off a little shaky last weekend in a loss to Holy Cross, yet both Grace and Sykes noted that a change in the team’s playing styles will take time to learn.
“On Saturday, we put it all together,” Grace said of the team’s 2-1 victory over Georgetown.
Yet the true tests for Grace and the Red will come later in the season when they will try to avenge their losses from last year against Ivy-rivals Harvard, Brown, Princeton and Yale.
Archived article by Chris Mascaro