September 20, 2007

Farrell’s Field Vision, Intensity Make Her Ideal Leader

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Despite three years littered with records and success on the lacrosse field, senior Courtney Farrell probably isn’t even the first Farrell that comes to most students mind.
Still, with three All-Ivy selections — including two first-team honors and a Northeast All-Region first-team selection, Farrell is at least trying to make her case against Will. She has led the Red in overall points the last two seasons and her 33 goals placed her in the top-100 nationally.
Heading into her final season, several records are in sight for the second-year captain. While her 34 assists last year put her atop the all-time list at Cornell, Farrell’s 159 points are only 46 shy of Jaimee Reynolds’ ’02 career record, and with only six more goals needed, it appears Farrell will become Cornell’s 11th 100 goal-scorer early in the season.
It’s not all about the numbers, however, as Farrell’s record-setting season could not prevent the Red from having a disappointing 2007 campaign, finishing 4-10 (3-4 Ivy). Farrell came to Cornell having lead Fayetteville-Manlius High School to the New York State title, and she also stood atop the podium with a gold on her Empire State Games team. Farrell’s teammates say her energy is a large reason for her success.
“Her love for the game is reflected in the effort she puts in and it motivates us all,” said senior defender Marla Diakow. “Her energy gets everyone on the team pumped up. Court brings a fun energy to the locker room and the field.”
While at Cornell, Farrell has only tasted a piece of the title. The Red’s 6-1 conference record in 2006 was enough to share the Ivy title with Princeton. After experiencing the first losing record of her career in 2007, Farrell’s intensity to spearhead an offense of championship caliber in 2008 has only increased. As head coach Jenny Graap ’86 was quick to point out, Farrell is the engine that drives the attack.
“Courtney is a powerful player, and she may not even realize how much her demeanor impacts her teammates,” Graap said. “If she is frustrated or struggling in a game, the entire attacking unit seems to follow suit and play tight. Courtney as a leader is recognizing how to relax and to delegate and to include others in her thoughts, her ideas and her vision. As her communication improves with her teammates on the field her leadership is strengthened.”
Courtney’s vision of the game has indeed improved, as shown by her increasing number of assists each year. As a freshman, she totaled only 12 to go along with her 28 goals. Last season, she focused more on getting others involved in the offense. Still, having gained experience with time in the U.S. Developmental program in the offseason, her coach expects more from Courtney in her senior season.
“Courtney continues to mature and gain confidence on the lacrosse field,” Graap said. “She has always been a quick and skilled attacker, but I have seen growth in her decision-making. Courtney is learning to push the tempo when necessary but to recognize the broader picture and to make more thoughtful choices with the ball.”
Courtney’s contributions go far beyond just goals, assists, and draw controls. While also the centerpiece of the attack, Farrell tends to find herself in the spotlight off the field as well, perhaps in the intensity of the ocker room rap scene.
“Her contributions on the field are significant — its really fun to watch her play, and difficult to defend her during practice,” Diakow said. “But beyond that, she also plays a critical role off the field. She is the first person to run an extra stadium with a teammate, or pump us up by rapping in the locker room.”
Beyond rapping and running up and down stairs at Schoellkopf Field, Farrell and the Red have been preparing for the upcoming 2008 season with fall practice.
“Court is a great teammate and leader because she truly cares about the team as a whole and is committed to seeing that we all succeed together,” Diakow said. “She has developed into a natural leader on the team and has been key in integrating a lot of the younger players into our program. She is passionate about the game and has developed into a great teacher and role model, sharing her knowledge with our young team.”
While Courtney’s presence in the locker room and among her teammates has been clearly established, it remains to be seen how the current season will affect Farrell’s legacy at Cornell.
“In her final season for the Big Red, I hope Courtney’s contribution continues to expand beyond offensive production in goals and assists,” Graap said. “She is a capable leader, a motivator, and someone who values her team’s success above her own.”