April 27, 2007

W. Lax Hosts Two Games

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The women’s lacrosse team will return to the field looking to play its first weekend doubleheader of the season, as well as the last home game for the squad’s graduating seniors. The Red will go up against Harvard this afternoon and then face Vanderbilt on Sunday.
The Harvard game will be Cornell’s last Ivy League contest of the season. Although Cornell (3-9, 2-4 Ivy) has won the last eight meetings between the two teams, Harvard (4-6, 1-4) holds the overall advantage in the series, having won 19 of the first 20 all-time matches.
Two games in one weekend always adds an extra element of fatigue, both mentally and physically.
“It’s always a challenge to play two games,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “We haven’t played a Friday-Sunday sequence in some time, so that is a factor.”
On the other hand, Graap said that despite the added challenges, she was not worried that it would be a major issue.
“I don’t think it is insurmountable,” she said. “We’ll have one day for practice, [tomorrow]. We’ve got good film [on Harvard]. We know their team very well.”
Because both teams have such an extensive history with each other, and because it is so late in the season, Graap said that preparation is not as important an aspect as it has been in previous games.[img_assist|nid=23237|title=Here’s looking at you.|desc=Junior Charlotte Schmidlapp (23) cradles the ball and looks to make a move during Cornell’s 11-10 loss to Rugers on Feb. 24.|link=node|align=left|width=100|height=69]
“At this point, everybody has so much knowledge,” Graap said. “It all really comes down to preparation. We have to execute our defense, execute our offense. We must play as a team.”
As they have continued to do all season, the team is determined to take each game one at a time.
“We are continuing to improve,” Graap said. “We are working on draw controls and offensive production. We just need to play the best that we can, play as a unit and play tough on the field.”
Graap said that as the season draws to a close, the coaching staff especially has to remain focused on its overall goals, not just wins and losses.
“We put ourselves in perspective,” she said. “We remember what our mission is as educators. We spend a great deal of time thinking about the mental side of the game. We need to continue to teach and mentor the same way as if our record was undefeated.”
Graap emphasized the need for patience and continued concentration in the last three games. The season is not over yet, and Graap does not want anyone to concentrate on anything more long term than the next game.
No. 14 Vanderbilt (10-4) is coming off an upset win, beating No. 6 Notre Dame last week.
Sunday’s game will be the year’s last home game at Schoellkopf Field, and will also serve as Senior Day, a time to honor the team’s seniors.
Goalie Mary Montague, defenders Ashleigh Smith and Anne Riordan, midfielders Margaux Viola and Alison McKeown and attacker Lindsey Moore will all be graduating this year.
“We’re going to honor the seniors on Sunday,” Graap said. “It always brings a special element, since it is the last home game of the class of 2007. I’m looking forward to that. We’ve got a great group of girls.”