April 19, 2006

W. Lax to Host No. 13 Syracuse

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The women’s lacrosse team will take a break from its conference schedule for a midweek match up, as it plays host to No. 13 Syracuse tonight. No. 11 Cornell (8-2, 4-1 Ivy) is coming off of a 17-8 thrashing of Brown this past Saturday and will look to maintain its momentum as it continues to make its case as being one of the top programs in the nation.

“Syracuse has been a very powerful northern region team and a huge central New York rival for us,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “At this point in the season we are still trying to prove ourselves, and Syracuse has played a tough schedule, so [this game] definitely helps us.”

The in-state rivalry began in 1998, when Syracuse (9-4, 2-2 Big East) began its women’s lacrosse program and has been a key contest for both schools ever since. The Orange maintains a slim 5-4 advantage over the Red in the all-time series, with all four losses coming at Schoellkopf Field. Cornell, meanwhile, is riding an 11-game home-winning streak dating back to a double-overtime, one-goal loss to Princeton last April. Over the past six seasons, Cornell has been dominant at home, boasting a 39-10 record.

“Since Syracuse is ranked No. 13, its going to be a great game, and beating a ranked team will only help us and help prepare us for Yale on Saturday and for the rest of our schedule,” said assistant coach Laurie Tortorelli.

Offensively, Syracuse is led by the dynamic tandem of Gaddy Fortune and Kathryn Rowan – who have combined to score 82 goals on the season. Rowan leads the team in points with 51 (41 goals, 10 assists), while Fortune is second with 44. In the midfield, Jill DePetris has been wreaking havoc on opposing teams all season, leading Syracuse with 43 ground balls and 20 caused turnovers. In the net, Jen Kasel has seen the majority of the playing time, posting an 8.21 goals-against average and a save percentage of .500.

“Syracuse has very talented, very quick attackers, but they don’t have many assists,” said Tortorelli. “We’re going to put a lot of pressure on them and try to clog the middle – hopefully force them into low percentage shots.”

The Red has had to condense its preparations for this game into two intense days of practice, as the team is in the midst of a three-game-in-eight-day stand. Cornell is expecting a very fast tempo, physical game from Syracuse and, among other aspects, has been concentrating on trying to control the draw circle. Senior goalkeeper Maggie Fava, who has been highly effective in the net all season, recording a 7.20 goals against average and .514 save percentage, will need to put forth another strong effort. Additionally, the Red will look to its core defenders to help contain the Orange’s prolific scorers.

On offense for Cornell, sophomore Courtney Farrell (38 points on 24 goals and 14 assists) and junior tri-captain Margaux Viola (30 points on 24 goals and six assists) lead a crop of seven players who have recorded double-digit point totals so far this season.

“We have scouted [Syracuse], and they have scouted us,” Graap said. “For this game, we are looking to continue to evolve on offense and not be so predictable – try to give them something they haven’t seen before.”

Archived article by Jon Hausner
Sun Staff Writer