Last weekend, the women’s lacrosse team (0-2) failed to find its stride, and fell to Georgetown, 20-7. The team’s defense has struggled in both its games so far this season. However, head coach Jenny Graap ’86 has no doubt that things are about to turn around.
“I think a focus for us on defense has been to step up our aggressiveness and to work on some specific pressure defenses,” said Graap. “That has given us a lot of confidence because we’re pretty good at it and it’s something we can do.”
One of the things that Graap has said is important is the team’s need to up its intensity.
“Both previous games that we played against Notre Dame and Georgetown, we’ve been outplayed and outhustled,” Graap explained. “Regardless of skill level, you can always hustle.”
This weekend, Cornell will find out if it can turn things around, when the Red battles Hofstra and Rutgers in what promise to be two hard-fought games.
Whether the Red is capable of a turnaround may become clear when Cornell meets Hofstra today at 4:30. The Pride lost All-American attacker Kathleen Mikowski, but returns juniors Jen Maget and Jill Wienecke. In addition, freshman Kim Hillier, who was an All-American in high school, will provide the Pride with some extra firepower. Hillier is the team’s leading scorer with five points.
“Hofstra is unique in that they have many marquee players,” Graap said. “They are just fast athletes … They’re a very different style team.”
On Sunday, the Red will meet Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights actually beat Hofstra earlier this season. Whereas Hofstra is very much a run-and-gun squad, the Scarlet Knights are much more of a slow, skilled squad. Rutgers returns three of its top four scorers, including seniors Cristina Curiale, Cali Wojdyla, and Maggie Bopp. Bopp is tied for the team lead in scoring, with 11 points.
“Rutgers is a bit more of a skill team,” Graap said. “There are definitely marquee players on both teams, [but] we need to get past Hofstra before we worry about Rutgers.”
In the end, however, the Red has to focus on simply getting back to playing its game the way it did last year and the year before when the team made the NCAA final four.
“[Senior co-captains] Jaime Quinn and Kate Hirschfield really took it upon themselves to bring the team together and sort of motivate the team a bit,” Graap said. “[They gave] them a real stern talking-to, as far as how we want to play, how we want to feel after a game, and what we need to do to really be proud of our efforts, and how we want to bring that type of a focus into practice to keep progressing and improving.”
Archived article by Michael Pandolfini