March 30, 2005

W. Lax Faces Off Against Raiders

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The women’s lacrosse team will look to build on its impressive spring break performance tonight, when No. 14 Cornell returns home to face defending Patriot League champion Colgate.

The Red went 2-1 during the break — earning wins over No. 13 Penn and No. 15 Ohio State, while losing to Stanford. Cornell (3-2, 1-0 Ivy) reentered the national rankings in yesterday’s IWLCA poll.

“I know we came out of [the break] 2-1, and I’m pleased to see us ranked,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “I think we still have a lot to prove, and we still have a long road ahead in the season. We took some important steps … It’s a maturing process, and I think that we did learn a lot from that Stanford loss.”

Meanwhile, Colgate (7-3, 2-0 Patriot) is riding a two-game winning streak of its own. The Raiders feature a strong defense, led by 2004 Patriot League Defensive Player of Year Sue Bielamowicz. The junior goalkeeper has earned an impressive 7.28 goals against average this year, as well as a .532 save percentage.

“[Colgate] has had a good start to the season,” Graap said. “I think they are a much improved program. Years ago, it may not have been as competitive of a game. [But] this year, the Raiders are arguably the best I’ve seen them in recent history … I think they’re going present a challenge.”

Graap noted that Cornell is looking for more improvement in its on-field communication, which she felt was a key factor in the Stanford loss. And while the team recovered and earned wins against Ohio State and Penn, Graap still sees room for improvement.

“I think we made some strides on the communication front, but we also saw plenty of breakdowns,” Graap said. “We reviewed the film of our Penn win, and we gave up 10 goals, and there were some clear breakdowns. There were moments, even on the attacking end, where we didn’t make the best decision. Or, we were trying to call a play, but not everybody was verbalizing the play. There was confusion, and therefore some bad decisions were made. I think it’s an ongoing effort to improve our communication.”

Cornell did have a number of strong offensive performances last week, highlighted by the play of junior Allison Schindler. She had a career-high six goals against Penn, and she added two goals and an assist against the Buckeyes. On Monday, she was named Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week.

Senior Kristen Smith currently leads the team is goals, with 11. Freshman Courtney Farrell has added six goals and four assists.

Meanwhile, on the defensive end, senior Julia Hughey has recorded a team-high 13 ground balls. She has also caused eight turnovers, and earned seven draw controls.

The Red defeated Colgate last year, 14-8, in Hamilton, N.Y. Cornell used an eight-goal run to take control of the game, and Smith had five goals in the win.

This year, Colgate’s offense is led by junior Katie McVeigh, who has scored 26 goals in nine games. Her classmate Kelly Winning has added 20 goals and 11 assists.

“It’s important that we continually test ourselves against the best opponents,” Graap said. “I hope [the game] is a hard-fought battle.”

Game time is set for 7 p.m. tonight at Schoellkopf Field.

Archived article by Ted Nyman
Sun Staff Writer