April 16, 2004

Lady Laxers Search for First Ivy Victory

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The women’s lacrosse team has suffered its share of setbacks and disappointments this season, and its challenging slate of opponents has been no help. Starting today in Providence, R.I., the Red (1-8, 0-3 Ivy) will hit what one might call “a lull” in the schedule, facing two consecutive unranked opponents for only the second time this season. The team hopes to halt a five-game skid and pull out its first Ivy win against either Brown today or Columbia on Sunday at 1 p.m. on Schoellkopf Field.

The Red has had a week to overcome the frustration of a 7-6 loss to No. 12 Dartmouth, a contest that saw Cornell hold a 4-0 advantage late in the first half. Head coach Jenny Graap ’86, however, has stressed the need to look toward the six remaining games rather than dwell on failure. “The last game was very disappointing, but on some level it was positive for us to come that close to knocking off a highly-ranked team,” Graap said. “Our record is not so good but we’re seeing improvements. This week we’re over the Dartmouth thing and we’re on to preparing for Brown and Columbia.”

Last year’s match-up against Brown saw the Red outgun the Bears, 15-11. This season, Brown (5-3, 2-1 Ivy) has again been an offensive machine, led by Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week Kate Staley. Staley’s four goals against Columbia last Friday helped turn a 9-3 deficit into a 12-11 Bears win. Graap sees in today’s game an opportunity for her squad to showcase its defensive prowess and to intensify the offensive attack.

“We need to stop their fast break and not give up a lot of transition goals like we did against Dartmouth,” she said. “Offensively we have to be sharper with our shooting and just take more shots.”

Another big factor weighing on Graap’s mind this week is the natural-grass surface of Brown’s Stevenson Field. The Red has yet to play a game on grass this season, and persistent Ithaca rain this week has thoroughly soaked the practice fields.

Cornell’s Sunday match against Columbia (6-5, 0-4 Ivy) seems to offer the Red’s best chance yet at collecting a league victory. The Lions have built a winning record this season playing a relatively weak non-conference schedule, and the young program is still in search of its first-ever Ivy League victory. The team’s four Ivy losses this season have been by an average of almost 10 goals.

Cornell shellacked Columbia, 15-1, a year ago, and although 2004 has proven to be a very different season for the Red, Graap expresses optimism about her team’s superiority. “We need to be fired up for that game and really go into it looking to show some dominance,” she said. “I really feel strongly that they’re not going to get that first Ivy win against Cornell.”

Archived article by Dan Schiff
Sun Staff Writer