Over the last four seasons, the women’s lacrosse team has grown into one of the top programs, not just in the Ivy League, but in the country as well. Aided by a crop of four seniors – Maggie Fava, Lyndsay Robinson, Allison Schindler and Rachel Spoonhower – Cornell recently captured a share of its first-ever Ivy League title. Ranked No. 6 in LaxPower.com’s rating system, the team has successfully emerged from its rebuilding stages and has stepped back into national prominence.
“I can’t imagine this season and this program without these four women,” said head coach Jenny Graap, ’86. “Individually, they bring different strengths to the team as players and collectively, the four players are so instrumental in the example they set and the leadership and mentoring they provide. There are so many intangibles that they have contributed over the years.”
In 2003, Cornell was just coming off of its first ever trip to the NCAA Final Four. The Red graduated seven seniors from that squad, as a group of freshmen were charged with helping the team remain in the national spotlight. That season saw Cornell retain some of the glory it had seen the previous year, as the Red managed to win the ECAC championship, but was denied an NCAA tournament bid. Subsequent seasons saw the Red slip to six and nine wins, respectively. Now, four years removed from the program’s last NCAA tournament appearance, the seniors would like nothing more than to help guide the team back into title contention.
“[Fava, Robinson, Schindler and Spoonhower] came in during the rebuilding years and the fact that they have seen the program build back up to national prominence and have helped capture the team’s first Ivy title shows how important they have been,” said Graap.
Regardless the outcome of the remainder of the season, the time spent as members of the Cornell lacrosse team have left indelible marks on the four seniors. The following are the players’ most notable recollections from their time spent as part of the program.
One of my most notable memories from the past four years is actually one of my first experiences as a member of our team. Each year at our summer lacrosse camp, the incoming freshmen attend and have the opportunity to workout with the team and Coach Howley [strength and conditioning]. As incoming freshmen four years ago, we ran the crescent with the team. As we came to the bottom of the first set of stairs, there stood Coach Howley and as each of us ran by he said, “Welcome to division I lacrosse.” I’m not the best at remembering specific plays or games, wins or losses, but I have never forgotten that experience. The bar was set that day and has only been raised each season since.
I feel like most people would pick our win against ‘Cuse in three overtimes two years ago, but I’m gonna go with our game against Dartmouth this year. Dartmouth was a key game for us in the Ivies and everybody rallied for a good old fashion team win. The best part of Cornell lacrosse is the people you meet. Whether it’s your teammates, their families, alums, or just Cornell fans – the people I’ve met through Cornell lacrosse and Cornell athletics have been a highlight of my time here.
It’s tough to pick out just one or two great memories from our four seasons, but I think I’ll always remember the win against ‘Cuse here two years ago that went into three overtimes. This year we’ve had some great wins as well, another big one over ‘Cuse and then taking down Dartmouth and Yale which we hadn’t beaten in the past three years. But, aside from the big wins there are tons of smaller, more personal memories I’ll take away from my four years here. Our team is an amazing group of girls who have made my last season at Cornell the most exciting, fun and memorable year.
The most notable memory for me, I would say, was this past Friday when we beat Harvard to win a part of the Ivy League title for the first time in school history. This event is more a collection of events of this past season. The team beat both Yale and Dartmouth for the first time since my arrival at Cornell and both were very exciting. … The Cornell lacrosse experience has been an experience that I will obviously never forget as my collegiate athletic career is soon coming to an end. It has been the first experience that I have ever had that has pushed me to perform and play as hard as I possibly can. It is great to realize that this hard work is beginning to pay off as we won a share of the Ivy title and are hoping to advance on to what will be my first NCAA experience.
Archived article by Jon Hausner
Sun Staff Writer