February 28, 2007

W. Lacrosse Team Welcomes Colgate

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After a disappointing season-opening 11-10 overtime loss to Rutgers this past weekend, the women’s lacrosse team (0-1) will try to bounce back as it welcomes Colgate (0-2) to Schoellkopf Field for a 4 p.m. match-up today.

“They have a new coach and a lot of talent,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “I expect them to be a great test for us.”

Meanwhile, Cornell should enter the contest with some extra aggression in its play after the Scarlet Knights snapped the Red’s home game winning streak at 13 — one shy of the programs record. Though upset with the loss, Graap believed it might serve an important role in pushing her team, ranked No. 11 in the IWLCA preseason poll, to meet its potential.
[img_assist|nid=21722|title=Run, Forrest, Run|desc=Junior Charlotte Schmidlapp (23) runs past a Rutgers defender in the Red’s 11-10 overtime loss on Saturday to the Scarlet Knights. Cornell will look to redeem itself today against Colgate.|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=74]
“It’s early in the season, but still it’s never fun to lose,” Graap said. “I think we can really learn some tough lessons from the close loss though, and the sooner we learn those lessons, the better.” On the other hand, several positives could also be taken from the Red’s play against Rutgers. Juniors Courtney Farrell and Noelle Dowd certainly did not disappoint as each contributed four goals and an assist to the Cornell effort.

Also, the Red appears to have found a reliable backstop in Renee Hughes. The sophomore goalie entered the contest with 6:45 left in the first half with Cornell down 7-1 and sparked the comeback effort, allowing just four goals and making eight saves during the remainder of the game.

“She was one of the stars of our comeback,” Graap said. “She put us in a position to win that game. She deserves a start against Colgate.”

Like Cornell, the Red Raiders will have plenty of motivation to get up for this game after dropping its first two contests of the season by identical 11-10 scores to Stony Brook and LaSalle.

“We expect them to be fired up after their two really close losses,” Graap said. “They gave us a great game last year and I expect the same this year.”

These two programs are no stranger to playing each other, having met each other 35 times beginning in 1974 with the Cornell leading the all-time series 20-14-1. In last year’s meeting, the two teams were tied 7-7 at the break before the Red exploded in the second half to win the game 15-8.

Although Graap is hoping from a repeat performance from a year ago, she knows her team will need to show some improvement from this past weekend to pull off that feat. Specifically, she is hoping her team will play together more effectively as well as cut down on its fouls after committing 26 against the Scarlet Knights.

“It was clear that there was a lot we needed to work on,” Graap said. “Most notably we must play as a cohesive unit and control our fouling. We were a little undisciplined.”

Graap also put a premium on winning ground balls. Rutgers enjoyed a 22-15 advantage over Cornell in that statistic this past weekend.

“I want us to win the ground balls game,” the coach said. “That’s a telling statistic — we need to win that one.”