Though just two games into its season, one thing is obvious about the women’s lacrosse team (1-1) – it has a plethora of offensive weapons.
After putting up 15 goals in both its season-opening victory at Colgate and nail-bitingly-close loss at No. 17 Notre Dame, the team is already well ahead of the 10.1 goals per game average it managed a season ago.
Even more impressive, however, is that scoring has not just come from a few superstars for the No. 18 Red, but instead, from a number of different contributors. In fact, no less than 10 Cornell players have already recorded a point in this young season.
“We have a variety of talent on attack,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “It makes it hard on defenses – they’ve got to be ready for a lot of different players.”
The Red’s offensive firepower was best on display in a furious second-half rally against the Red Raiders last week. Down 8-7 early in the period, Cornell rattled off eight straight scores – including three alone from junior attacker Margaux Viola – to clinch the victory.
Viola ended up as the leading goal scorer, with four goals for the Red in that contest, while sophomore midfielder Noelle Dowd led the team with five total points.
However, those two were not without company on the attack that game. In total, seven different Cornell players recorded goals against Colgate.
“We have a lot of threats,” Graap said. “We’re getting goal production from both midfield and from the attackers.”
The astounding depth of the Red attack was also made quite clear in the close loss to the Fighting Irish. Again, seven different Cornell players scored goals – this time led by sophomore attacker Courtney Farrell’s six tallies.
Although the team’s furious comeback attempt late in the second-half came up just short, the Red still had many positives to draw from that game.
Cornell converted all three of its free position shot opportunities and also enjoyed an impressive shooting percentage. Though the season is barely underway, the Red’s overall statistics in both those categories are well ahead of the team’s marks a year ago.
“We have a lot of confidence in taking shots right now,” Graap said. “Our shooting percentage is very high – we focused a lot on that in the preseason.”
Even with the offensive as strong as it is already, Graap is still looking for players continue to grow their skills, especially when they do not have the ball.
“We need to keep developing our off-the-ball movement and unselfish team work aspect,” she said.
In fact, Graap sees each score as a total team effort, and working together as the key to making a strong, cohesive offensive unit.
“There is too much weight on who scored goals and got assists,” the coach said.
“It is also really important to pull defenders and be a threat all over the field. There are seven players on the field in our offensive unit. Though just one player scores, there are six others that really helped make that happen.”