March 7, 2008

Hofstra in Town for W. Lacrosse’s First Home Game of Season

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The Cornell women’s lacrosse team is relieved to be able to stay at home this weekend after opening its season with two consecutive weekends on the road. The Red comes into this weekend with an undefeated 2-0 record after dismantling Colgate and Rutgers to kick off its 2008 campaign.
The Red will welcome Hofstra to Ithaca this afternoon before kicking off its Ivy League season tomorrow at 4 p.m. against Columbia.
Senior defender Amanda Linnertz explained that the team is excited for the opportunity to play at Schoellkopf Field in front of friends, family and fans. The players take pride in protecting their home field and gain a little extra motivation for games here at Cornell.
“We love playing at home,” Linnertz said. “We have great parent support and a really loyal core fan base who make playing at home very special. We take a lot of pride in playing on Schoelkopf. We have a whole, ‘This is Our House,’ mentality.”
The Red was able to learn a lot about themselves as a team from their first two games of the year, and look to implement those lessons to help the team improve in time for this weekend’s games. Strong team play in transition was key to success against Colgate and Rutgers, and the Red players know that it will once again be instrumental in this weekend’s games as well.
“I think the attack and defense really supported each other,” said senior tri-captain defender Ashleigh Smith. “Specifically, the attackers working hard have caused so many turnovers for us. I think that has been huge. In the draw circles, working on getting the draw, that has been really big for us too. That is something we have struggled with in the past and I think we really stepped it up this year. We are just kind of working on hustling and playing hard. That has been our big focus this year. Working on getting ground balls, draw controls, and causing turnovers — just kind of the hustle stats — has been really important for us.”
Hofstra, who finished last year ranked No. 16 in the IWLCA, comes into Friday’s game off of a crushing 22-4 defeat at the hands of No. 1 Northwestern. This year’s Hofstra team has a much different look from the one that beat Cornell 13-8 last season. The Pride graduated three seniors that had combined to score 111 of Hofstra’s 191 goals in 2007.
However, the Red knows that Friday’s contest is going to be a challenge, as Hofstra is known for its tenacious and hard-hitting play.
“Hofstra is a really hard working team that is really aggressive all over the field,” Linnertz said. “So we just need to be ready to play tough and need to be ready for whatever they throw at us.”
Tomorrow, in the Red’s first conference game of the year, Cornell will be facing off against a Columbia team that, as of Wednesday, was 1-1 to start the year. Last season, defeated the Lions 12-8, but the Red note that Columbia has been steadily improving over the years.
“Columbia has gotten better and better every year, Linnertz said. “It is hard to say specifically what we expect from them, but we are by no means underestimating them. They gave us a good game last year and continue to get better.”
Linnertz and Smith both emphasized that the players are looking to play their own game and are not concerning themselves too much with their opponents’ styles of play.
“We are just focusing on playing good solid Cornell Lacrosse right now,” Smith solid Cornell lacrosse right now,” Smith explained. “We are focusing on playing our game and not really worrying too much about what the other team is doing. We just want to play solid defense and find each other on attack.”
The Red have found some early success so far this season, and look to carry that momentum into this weekend’s games.
“I think it is very exciting starting off the season well,” Smith said. “It has really built some confidence for us. … We have a lot of chemistry this year, so if we keep working hard and are able to play well, then hopefully it will come together for us.”