March 16, 2006

Defense Key for W. Lax

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Following a tough 17-15 loss at Notre Dame a couple a weeks ago, the women’s lacrosse team’s defensive unit knew it had to regroup.

“We were disappointed as a unit following that game,” said sophomore defender Jessica Dwinell. “We knew we need to increase our talk on the field.”

Put in action, that strategy certainly worked this past weekend as the Red defense shut down the offense of both Cal-Berkeley and Hofstra en route to outscoring its opponents, 27-6, between the two games. Cornell dominated the Golden Bears, 14-1, in Friday’s matchup before beating up on the Pride, 13-5, in Sunday’s game.

“We played really well as a whole,” Dwinell said. “We executed our plan.”

Cornell defender Anne Riordan earned Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week honors for playing important part in the defensive unit’s success. The junior caused a team-high four turnovers and collected three ground balls over the weekend, while also taking on some of the Red’s toughest assignments.

“She marked the top attacker of each team and completely shut them down,” Dwinell said. “It was a great individual effort.”

Riordan, however, was not alone in putting together an impressive defensive performance throughout the weekend. Senior Lyndsay Robinson and Dwinell – the other two starting defenders in each game – as well as a host of subs each played a big part in working together to help Cornell enjoy a combined 67-23 advantage in shots over Cal-Berkeley and Hofstra.

“We improved our team defense and having each other’s backs out on the field,” Dwinell said.

This improved sense of team defense and cooperation was highlighted by the phenomenal effort Cornell showed in clearing its zone. The Red converted an incredible 30 of its 31 clear opportunities this past weekend.

“We had practiced a couple of plays with the man-to-man ride,” Dwinell said. “We really focused on spreading out and then connecting with each other.”

Meanwhile, sophomore goalie Maggie Fava chipped in with a pair of strong games of her own. Turning aside a total of eight opponents’ shots on the weekend, she lowered her season goal against average to just 7.75 scores per game.

Even more impressive, Fava came up huge when facing free-position shots, as Cornell’s foes managed just one goal in seven opportunities throughout the weekend. This turned out to be a big lift for the Red as it went on to convert six of its 10 free-position chances.

Following the turnaround from the Notre Dame game to its pair of victories this past weekend, the Red is looking forward to proving its defensive strength as it opens its Ivy schedule against Columbia this weekend.

Archived article by Scott Reich
Sun Staff Writer