In its last home weekend of the year, a young women’s lacrosse team (6-6, 3-3 Ivy) will try to draw inspiration from its senior class as it tries to bounce back against Harvard and Rutgers after a tough loss at No. 20 Yale a week ago.
“There was a lot of frustration against Yale last weekend,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “We’ve been focusing on getting our own game together. We want to show what Cornell lacrosse is made of.”
To accomplish that mission, however, will be no easy task as the team continues to try to get used to playing without the leadership of senior attacker Kristen Smith. Smith, who had been pacing the team in scoring throughout the first half the season, has been sidelined for the rest of the season after enduring a torn ACL against Dartmouth a few weeks back.
“I want the lacrosse team to be playing with the focus and intensity of Kristen Smith,” Graap said. “She left the squad as its leading scorer and the team needs to find inspiration now. They should play for her.”
Stepping up for the injured Smith, freshman Courtney Farrell — the team’s current point leader — has developed into a strong scoring threat. In fact, Farrell has been wearing a yellow jersey during the team’s practices — a symbol signifying that she emerged as one of the team’s premier, consistent players.
“She has really stepped up her play,” Graap said. “For a younger player, she’s doing very well.”
Farrell as well as the rest of the Cornell offense should be excited for tonight’s game against Harvard (2-12, 0-5 Ivy), a team that has allowed almost 13 goals a game. The contest, however, should be no easy victory for the Red as the Crimson do have several talented individual players on offense.
“Harvard has had some ups and downs this season. Their record is not as strong as they are as a team,” Graap said. “They have a lot of talented individuals, but they struggle on working as a cohesive group.”
With five players that have already notched at least 16 points on the season, attackers Natalie Cutis and Liz Gamble have emerged as the leaders among the Crimson’s group of talented players pacing the team with 21 points apiece.
Sunday afternoon’s game against Rutgers (6-8, 2-4 Big East) should also prove to be no easy contest for the Red. Fresh off its first win on the road this season after defeating St. Joseph’s 7-5 earlier this week, the Scarlet Knights will ride into Ithaca on a wave of momentum.
The key to victory for Cornell will be to shut down Rutger’s Katie Batiuk — one of the top scorers in all of women’s lacrosse. Batiuk enters the contest with 44 goals and 10 assists. Teammate Kate Shomo, with 19 goals and seven assists on the season, is the secondary offensive threat for the Scarlet Knights.
Prior to the meeting with Rutgers, Cornell will honor its senior class of Annie Berkery, Kristen Smith and Julia Hughey. All three have been stalwarts in the Red lineup over the past few years and have compiled a 39-22 record, as well as an ECAC championship over their careers.
Archived article by Scott Reich
Sun Staff Writer