March 1, 2006

W. Lax to Start Season

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The women’s lacrosse team has a challenging schedule lined up for the 2006 season, with contests against seven preseason top-20 teams on the docket. The Red’s first opponent of the year may not be listed in the national polls, but as the defending champions of the Patriot League and a NCAA tournament team, Colgate will not allow No. 13/18 Cornell much room for error this afternoon in Hamilton, N.Y.

Cornell is counting on a roster dominated by youth with a sprinkling of upperclassmen leadership to translate into a winning recipe this season, as seniors Maggie Fava, Lyndsay Robinson, Allison Schindler, and Rachel Spoonhower lead a team that lists 23 of its 32 players as underclassmen.

The Raiders have found a way to win with a much different look, as nine seniors headline a squad that is 2-0 in the early going. Colgate used a defensive shutdown to top Stony Brook, 8-7, on Feb. 18. In their next contest against La Salle on Feb. 25, the Raiders found the spark to ignite an offensive explosion, posting an 18-6 victory.

Katie McVeigh has provided scoring power for Colgate, scoring six goals and notching one assist for a team-high seven points. But she is not the only weapon in the Raiders’ arsenal, as 10 different players have recorded points on the young season.

Experienced netminder Sue Bielamowicz anchors the Colgate defense, having accumulated a 6.50 goals against average and a .629 save percentage while playing all 120 minutes of the 2006 season for the Raiders.

Youth doesn’t necessarily translate into inexperience for the Cornell squad, as the top-2 scorers from last year’s campaign return for their sophomore season. Second-year players Courtney Farrell and Katherine Simmons finished with 40 and 33 points, respectively, after their rookie campaign. The duo earned second-team All-Ivy honors in 2005 after Simmons scored a team-high 13 goals in Ivy League action and Farrell turned in 28 goals and 12 assists on the season, second on the team in both categories.

Fava brings an experienced hand to the cage for the Red after ending 2005 with a 9.85 goals against average and a .455 save percentage in 12 starts for Cornell. Sophomore Ashely Blum will play a supporting role in the net, and will be looking to build on a rookie season in which she appeared in eight games and earned an 8.09 goals against average and a .492 save percentage for the Red.

The Red is 7-1 in season openers under head coach Jenny Graap ’86, who is in her ninth season at the helm for Cornell. Graap has also guided the Red to a 29-17 road record, including wins over seven nationally-ranked teams.

Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Assistant Sports Editor