April 28, 2006

W. Lax to Play for First Title

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The No. 10 women’s lacrosse team (10-2, 5-1 Ivy) will hit the road this weekend for two critical games as it continues its quest for a post-season berth. The team’s first challenge will take place tonight against Harvard (5-10, 3-3 Ivy), as the Red looks to stay in contention for its first Ivy League championship in program history. Cornell will then remain in Boston for a neutral-site game against No. 19 Stanford (8-5, 4-1 MPSF) on Sunday afternoon.

“This is another big weekend for us, just like every other weekend has been so far,” said senior tri-captain Allison Schindler. “Obviously, we’re closing out our Ivy season and looking to end with another strong win. After the tough lost last year at Stanford I think we’re all ready to prove that we’re a better team than we showed last season.”

According to assistant coach Abbi Hills, this weekend’s games mark “one more step to the Final Four and our ultimate goal of getting to the championship game weekend.”

The game against Harvard is the final conference affair for both squads. Cornell is currently tied for first place with Princeton, but will need a Tiger loss at Brown in order to gain the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Red holds a 7-19 all-time mark against the Crimson, but has won the last seven meetings between the two programs.

Natalie Curtis leads the Harvard offense, registering 35 goals and 45 draw controls this season.

Against Stanford, Cornell is 5-1 all-time, with the lone setback coming last season on the short end of an 8-4 decision. The teamis eager to put last year’s disappointing effort behind them and show its true colors.

“Stanford is a big game for the upperclassmen,” said senior tri-captain Lyndsay Robinson. “Last year we didn’t play as well as we should have and lost to the Cardinals. We want to even the score this year.”

At the helm for Stanford is head coach Michele Uhlfelder, a former World Cup attacker for the U.S. national team. Under Uhlfelder’s tutelage, the Cardinal is currently ranked No. 15 nationally in goals scored per game, averaging 12.62 per contest. The team has four players who have amassed at least 25 goals this season, including Megan Burker who has recorded 29 goals and 12 assists. Burker also leads the team with 34 draw controls and 12 caused turnovers.

“Their strong suit is their attack. They have good stick skills and place a lot of focus on shooting,” said Hills, a standout midfielder and 2004 graduate of Stanford.

To combat Stanford’s offense, the Red will count on another strong effort from its defensive unit, which currently ranks No. 1 in the nation. The Red has allowed just 6.92 goals per game.

“Both games this weekend are going to come down to hustle,” Robinson said. “Ground balls and draw controls will be big, but in the end we need to play Cornell lacrosse and control the momentum of the game.”

Offensively, sophomore Katherine Simmons leads the team with 28 goals, while classmate Courtney Farrell has added 25 goals and 17 assists.

“We’ve certainly seen both the defense and the offense have impressive games so far and I think we’re just looking for it to all come together on game day,” Schindler said.

Archived article by Jon Hausner
Sun Staff Writer