By March 3, 2006
Open the sunflower seeds, slap on the pine-tar, turn up the country music – and zip up your parka. Despite the cold weather, baseball is back. The baseball team is set to kick off its 2006 regular season tomorrow against Bucknell (0-3, 0-0 Patriot) in Lewisburg, Pa. Despite temperatures anticipated to be in the mid-30’s at game time, the game is scheduled to take place as planned. However, if conditions worsen the game could be postponed.
“Beginning of the week it said 40s. We’ve been checking it everyday, twice a day,” said head coach Tom Ford. “It’s just one of those things you deal with. You’re in the Northeast and you just have to get used to it.”
Despite practicing indoors for a majority of the off-season, the team is looking forward to finally seeing pitchers and hitters that aren’t familiar faces. Although a majority of the team hails from the West coast and other states such as Texas and Colorado, there is a positive outlook on getting the season started despite the frigid temperatures not usually considered to be ideal for baseball.
“We’re just excited to get going,” Ford said. “Weather will take its toll but we really have no other choice. We’ve got to get the games in. We’ve got a lot of guys on this team that are used to playing when it’s warm, but that won’t be the case on Saturday. Looking at the forecast though, 35 and sunny is a great deal better than 40 and cloudy.”
Senior co-captains Rocky Collis and Seth Gordon lead the defending Gehrig division champions against the Bisons. The right-handed ace of the pitching staff, Collis, went 2-4 last season with the Red in nine starts. Gordon, the team’s second baseman and lead-off hitter, hit .315 in his junior campaign while scoring a team high 30 runs. Sophomore Brian Kaufman, classmate Jimmy Heinz and senior catchers Matt Goodson and William Pauly will all contribute this weekend.
Although the team returns seven starters in the field, a strong freshman class and a solid group of junior transfers will make a push for starting roles. Freshman Domenic Di Riccio looks to make his debut in left field while classmate Scott Hardinger will look to somehow fill the void left by the graduation of Matt Miller ’05, as he will start at shortstop. With 11 newcomers in the mix, this weekend’s festivities will provide an opportunity to see how the team’s new parts will add to the efficiency of the Red machine.
“Certainly in the early part of the season we’ve got to see people, tool with the line-up a little bit and things like that,” Ford said. “You can only make certain evaluations in practice, especially when you’re indoors most of the time. We’re going to look at some things, as we have to because of our depth, but yet we still want to go down there and win the games.”
Bucknell, who finished last season in third place in the Patriot League, opened its season two weeks ago, dropping three games to West Virginia by scores of 10-2, 8-4, and 8-1. The Bisons are currently winless on the young season and are led by junior pitcher Matt Curry, senior outfielder Kyle Walter and senior shortstop Matt Capece. Walter was a home-run shy of hitting for the cycle in game two of the Bison’s series against the Mountaineers.
“We expect them to be pretty good and of course, they’ve already got a few games under their belt,” Ford said. “They’re always well-coached and have many talented players. It’s going to be the type of thing where we have to go down and play well to win. There’s no doubt about that. Certainly with any game, that’s what we have to do.”
Collis will get the ball to start out the weekend. Other pitchers who are expected to see action include junior Jim Hyland, sophomore Bryce Klinesteker, and junior Blake Hamilton. Junior Adam Loeding, sophomore Walker Toma and junior Tom Laughlin will be in relief.
“Now is when the fun starts,” Ford said. “Not only for the players, but for the coaching staff as well. Now we get to see if the team is capable of doing the things we think they’re capable of.”
Archived article by Tim Kuhls Sun Staff Writer
By March 3, 2006
After an impressive 15-8 win at Colgate in its season opener Wednesday, the No. 18 women’s lacrosse team will travel cross-country this weekend to take on an explosive No. 17 Notre Dame squad.
“It should be a formidable challenge,” said Cornell head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “They will already have had three games under their belts.”
Sporting a 2-0 record heading into yesterday’s game against Ohio, the Fighting Irish have played strong in the early going. In a West Coast trip last weekend, the team demolished Berkeley, 23-11, before hanging on for a 12-11 triple-overtime victory at Stanford.
“[Notre Dame’s] strength is really in its offense,” Graap said. “Their numbers are pretty staggering … They have several key players and they are all at attack or middle attack.”
Senior Crysti Foote, an All-Big East and third-team All-America selection a year ago, leads the Irish attack with 15 points and 12 goals. Underclassmen Jill Byers and Caitlin McKinney are also key cogs in the Notre Dame offense. Byers is second on the team in both points (13) and goals (10), while McKinney paces her squad with six assists.
“Byers has had a really outstanding beginning to her career, and McKinney is on the U.S. development team,” Graap said.
Facing such a volatile offense, strong defense should prove to be one of Cornell’s keys to the game. This is no different than against Colgate, as the Red limited the Red Raiders’ attack to just one score in the second half en route to the victory.
Graap was pleased with the performances that junior defenders Ashleigh Smith and Anne Riordan put together for the Red. Smith collected four ground balls and caused two turnovers, while Riordan held Colgate’s leading scorer to just two goals while shadowing her all over the field.
Meanwhile, as Cornell’s defense came on later in the game, its attack did as well. The Red scored eight consecutive second-half goals to turn a 7-7 halftime score into the winning margin.
Even more impressive, the Red showed off its depth with eight different players registering points.
“We have really good depth all over the field,” Graap said. “It really helps us stay fresh. Last year, we played the same unit a lot and they would get tired at the end of the game.”
Despite not starting, junior Lindsey Moore led Cornell in points with two goals and four assists. Junior Margaux Viola and sophomore Noelle Dowd also were large contributors for the Red, combining for nine points and seven scores.
Overall, Graap felt proud of her team’s play – especially with the way in which it improved as the game moved a long.
“We definitely got over some jitters and came together as a team In the first half, we were really working hard as individuals, but there wasn’t much cohesion as a team,” Graap said. “We started working well together later in the game. We showed a lot of good teamwork in the second half and it felt really great to get the win.”
Cornell will try to maintain the positive momentum from its first game as it travels to Notre Dame. With the game being played in an indoor facility with a surface different from the artificial turf that the Red is used to, the Irish should enjoy a home-field advantage.
“It is certainly a factor,” Graap said. “The bounce isn’t as significant as we’re used to. We’ve just got to get that out of our mind and focus on the game.”
Archived article by Scott Reich Sun Staff Writer