April 1, 2005

Women's Lax Takes On Tigers

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If there’s one thing the women’s lacrosse team has shown to opponents in its last three contests — all wins, including two over higher ranked opponents — it is that the Red possesses exceptional depth on offense. Not only has the No. 14 Cornell squad (4-2, 1-0 Ivy) been led in scoring by a different player in each of those victories, but it has also featured as many as seven different goal scorers in each of those games — a statistic the Red hopes will help against Ivy rival Princeton tomorrow.

“We’re definitely become more comfortable knowing we can all score,” said freshman Katherine Simmons. “We’ve been going to goal and finishing strong.”

Nevertheless, even with an offense as deep as an Ithaca gorge, the Red will face an uphill battle when Princeton comes to town for a showdown at Schoellkopf. The No. 4 Tigers team (5-2, 1-0 Ivy) arrives on the East Hill having already beaten three top 10 teams, including its most recent 13-12 overtime triumph at No. 8 Georgetown.

The national runners-up a season ago after completing an undefeated regular season, Princeton features an attack spearheaded by a pair of lethal scoring threats. Seniors Lindsey Biles and Elizabeth Pillion have already combined for 47 total points including 21 and 15 goals respectively. Meanwhile, the Red will also have to keep an eye on sophomore Kathleen Miller who is third on the team in points with nine goals and five assists in the season’s early going.

“They are very talented,” Simmons said. “We’re going to have show up ready to play and make sure we have strong team defense.”

Defensively, senior goalie Sarah Kolodner has been strong in net for the Tigers while starting all seven games. The net minder owns a 8.43 goals against average while stopping 48.1 percent of the shots she faces. Kolodner proved to be a key in Princeton’s recent win over the Hoyas, coming up with a crucial save in the final minutes of overtime to preserve the close victory.

Cornell, however, appears primed to turn Kolodner’s luck around. Scoring an average of a cool baker’s dozen in its last three games, the Red’s attack has looked unstoppable at times.

“We’ve been playing really well,” Simmons said. “We’ve really been trusting each other with the passes and then finishing strong.”

Remarkable individual performances by Cornell’s players have been the ignition to this most recent offensive explosion. Junior Allison Schindler earned Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week honors after notching six goals in the team’s 12-10 upset of No. 13 Pennsylvania last weekend. Meanwhile, freshman Courtney Farrell and sophomore Lindsey Moore each had breakout games Wednesday night, scoring five and four goals, respectively, in Cornell’s 14-11 victory over Colgate.

At the same time, the Red’s leading scorer, senior Kristen Smith — 14 goals — as well as sophomore Margaux Viola and first year players Noelle Dowd and Katherine Simmons have been consistent offensive contributors.

The extent of the Red’s depth and ability to defer to teammates is most clearly revealed in Schindler’s play over the past few games. After putting up a half-dozen goal performance against the Quakers, the junior — known for setting up teammates’ scores rather than getting her own — only took one shot against the Raiders while contributing two assists.

Though the offense has looked strong, the Red must shore up any holes that still remain in its defensive play. Allowing over ten goals a game, the team has suffered from allowing opponents to enjoy an overall advantage in draw controls and fouls.

In goal, junior Maggie Fava has seen the bulk of Cornell’s playing time, compiling a 3-2-0 record while turning aside 42 of the 93 shots on goal she has faced.

Archived article by Scott Reich
Sun Staff Writer