April 23, 2004

W. Lacrosse Hopes To Halt Eli Streak

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After getting its first two Ivy wins of the season last weekend, the women’s lacrosse team aims to up its conference record to .500 when it faces off against No. 14 Yale (11-4, 4-2 Ivy) tomorrow at Schoellkopf Field at 1 p.m. The Red (3-8, 2-3 Ivy) can spoil the Bulldogs’ hopes of getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament by getting the upset.

Cornell snapped a five-game losing streak last Friday with an 11-9 win at Brown, buoyed by hat tricks from juniors Lindsay Steinberg and Kristen Smith. The Red’s game on Sunday against Columbia was interrupted near the end of the first half due to lightning. When play resumed, the Lions mounted a comeback in the second half, but Cornell held on for the 10-8 win. Senior co-captain Jaime Quinn recorded four points on the day, while freshman Lindsey Moore came off the bench to net two goals and an assist.

This weekend, the Red will need to shut down Yale’s prolific offense, which is averaging 12.53 goals per game.

“Yale has three really significant scoring threats, and two of the three are very tall, one is six foot tall and the other is 5-11,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “In preparing for [Yale], we’re trying to get our defense ready for denying some of these feeds to the tall girls inside and lots of communication on the defensive end so that we can be really solid in our effort in the backfield.”

The trio of Miles Whitman, Sophie Melniker, and Katherine Sargent has combined for 135 of the Yale’s 188 goals this season. Melniker is the reigning Ivy League Player of the Week after scoring 16 goals in Yale’s three games last weekend.

The Red has struggled in the past few games in shutting down its opponents’ fast break scoring chances, which it will need to do tomorrow if it hopes to win.

“Yale does play a fast break transition offense at times, and so definitely we have been working on that, stopping the team’s fast break off of the draw control, off of a clear, or any broken situation,” Graap said. ” Yale actually has one of the fastest players in the country in their leading scorer, Miles Whitman. She’s wicked fast.”

Whitman is the fourth leading scorer in the nation as of last weekend, and has recorded 52 goals and 26 assists on the year. Last year against the Red, Whitman found the back of the net seven times in the Bulldogs’ 11-5 win. Shutting down Whitman will not be enough, as Sargent and Melniker are also big threats in the attacking end.

” Yale presents multiple challenges, so I think it’s going to take a whole team effort in the backfield to contain those players,” Graap said. ” Just like in any game, there’s just one ball so you just have to figure out how you can get multiple defenders on the ball without leaving dangerous people wide open. It’s a matter of shifting and adjusting and working together.”

With four games left in the season, the Red has a chance to end the spring on a positive note by extending its winning streak.

” I think for us to have a great showing against all the remaining teams would be wonderful. By the eleventh, twelfth game of the season, the freshmen that have been playing for us and even the upperclassmen who are first-time starters, they’re not so young anymore because of all the games we’ve played and all the experience they’ve had. We need to show in the remaining four games what we’ve learned,” Graap said.

Archived article by Jonathan Auerbach