February 28, 2008

Women's Lax Takes Road Opener

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After practicing through February in Ithaca, the women’s lacrosse team was undeterred by a little blizzard yesterday as it stormed into Colgate and soundly defeated the Raiders, 16-7.
“Everyone was really excited that we were actually going to play,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “With all the weather issues we were just hoping that we would get a game in and once we realized that we were going to get to play we were all really excited.”
The players had good reason to be concerned about the status of their game. The men’s game against Binghamton on Tuesday was canceled due to inclement weather, and yesterday seemed even stormier. Graap admitted that it was one of the coldest games that she has coached in her eleven years, but didn’t think that the weather played much of a factor. However, the players definitely noticed the frigid temperatures.
“It was totally freezing, I couldn’t feel my fingers,” said junior midfielder Jessica Wiegand. “They pulled me out because I couldn’t catch the ball and I had to put some rubber gloves on. Everyone was cold; I think it’s good to do well besides the rough environment.” [img_assist|nid=28337|title=Don’t cross me|desc=Senior attacker Charlotte Schmidlapp (3) scored a pair of goals en route to the Red’s season-opening win over Colgate, 16-7.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Despite the less-than-ideal weather, the Red (1-0) came out firing in its first game of the season. Six different players scored more than one goal against the Raiders (1-3), including freshman Libby Johnson who scored two goals in her collegiate debut. Senior attacker Courtney Farrell led the offensive surge with three goals and three assists.
“I thought [Farrell] played a very consistent game and played very smart lacrosse game out there,” Graap said. “She did things on the field that aren’t even in the stats — she played great defense and got the ball back for us time and again. I thought she was really important on the draw control.”
The draw circle was an area Cornell could count on throughout the game. It struggled winning draws last season, but in its first game of the 2008 season the Red won 18 draws to the Raiders’ seven.
“We’ve been working on boxing out and getting in position and trying to get a quick step to get that advantage,” Graap said. “A lot of different elements go into it and most of the elements are teamwork and communication. I credit my assistant coach Lyndsay Robinson ’06. She’s really taken it upon herself to help the team improve in the draw control; she’s really done a great job putting in the extra hours and watching the film on it and teaching the players.”
The Red took advantage of its edge in the draw circle by capitalizing on most of its scoring opportunities and avoiding costly turnovers.
“Once we win the draw control, we’re very good at keeping possession until we finish with a goal,” Wiegand said. “Today we executed well, we were pretty good at backing up our shots and just supporting each other.”
The players supported each other on the defensive end of the field as well. Wiegand explained that the Raiders, noted for their ability to move the ball around the field, were held at bay by the high level of pressure that the Red defense administered. Colgate scored an average of 13 goals per game through its first three games, but was held to a season-low seven goals by the tenacious Red defense. Seven players scored for the Raiders, but each only scored once.
“We didn’t let any one player take over,” Graap said. “In general I think that the goals that Colgate was able to score, they had to work pretty hard for. The fact that they got four [goals] in the second half is certainly a credit to them that they kept going and kept pushing.”