February 23, 2007

W. Lacrosse Opens Season Against Rutgers

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After a three-week preseason rife with freezing practices and chaotic scheduling, the women’s lacrosse team is more than ready to kick off the season at home against Rutgers tomorrow. Amidst mounds of melting snow, the Red will be working hard to try and show that it has the ability to meet and exceed the standard set by the 2006 squad.

“This is our season-opener, so we want to set the tone for the whole season by starting off on the right foot and dominating in all aspects of the game,” said senior captain Margaux Viola.
[img_assist|nid=21620|title=Cross this|desc=The women’s lacrosse team took down then-No. 15 Dartmouth on April 8. Tomorrow, the Red will kick off its new season against Rutgers.|link=none|align=left|width=78|height=100]

In the past, Rutgers has proven to be an athletic, aggressive and determined opponent. The women closed the 2006 regular season with a win against a young Rutgers team that featured four freshmen as starters. Though it will have a little more experience on its side this season, the Red is hoping to capitalize on the fact that last season’s game is still fresh in everyone’s mind.

“Rutgers is one of those teams that has consistent heart and intensity,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “They are a team that fights to the end. We play them every year and they always give us a good game.”

Despite the fact that Rutgers is an out-of-region and out-of-conference opponent, the women are certainly not taking this game lightly. In fact, the Red has adopted a “team first” attitude towards the season. Instead of focusing on each specific competitor, the squad is concentrating on bringing its best game every time they walk on the field.

“Our focus is playing Cornell lacrosse and not letting the opponent dictate how we compete,” said assistant coach Laurie Tortorelli. “Some people tend to circle one game on the calendar but we want to treat every game like it’s the most important one.”

Part of this team centered mindset has involved incorporating a talented freshman class into a squad that graduated only four players last year. Many of the returning players have earned All-American titles as well as a variety of other honors, but the experienced seniors and juniors are still working tirelessly to create a cohesive unit instead of a group of individual stars.

“We have great pieces but we need to bring them together in a way that maximizes our impact,” Graap said. “We have a lot of girls with accolades and honors but we still need teamwork, camaraderie and unity.”

Last weekend’s scrimmage against Penn State provided a measuring stick to assess what needed to be done in order to prepare for the game tomorrow. The Red is hoping to see some real improvement all over the field but especially in communication.

“We want to play with passion and heart and will show itself in ground-ball hustle, backing each other up all over the field and communication. Communication is so important because when it’s good, the players look like a unit,” Graap said.

Although the women are intent on treating all games with equal significance, there is no denying that this weekend’s contest is a little unusual.

Tomorrow’s game will mark the first time that an admission fee has been charged for women’s lacrosse

Adding more significance to the game, the team has the opportunity to continue a home-field winning streak that began last season when the 2006 squad did not lose a single game.

“We were undefeated at home last year and that is very special to us,” Viola said. “We are definitely looking forward to opening our season on Schoellkopf field and continuing the tradition.”

The Red also hopes to continue on its record-setting pace from last season.

W. Lacrosse Opens Season Against Rutgers