March 14, 2008

W. Lax Travels for Two, Returns Home to Start Ivy Play

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After blowout victories over Columbia and Hofstra this past weekend, the women’s lacrosse team will put its undefeated 4-0 record to the test over Spring Break, with three games scheduled during the next week.
The Red will be heading to Nashville, Tenn., for a game on Monday against a Vanderbilt team that is currently 5-2 and ranked No. 10 in the IWLCA national poll. Cornell will be staying in Nashville for a neutral-field matchup on Wednesday against New Hampshire. The Wildcats are 4-2, having knocked off then-No. 10 Yale earlier in the year.
The Red then returns home to Ithaca to wrap up its Spring Break schedule with a conference tilt against Penn.
Cornell put on a couple of impressive performances at Schoellkopf this past week with a 16-2 landslide defeat of Columbia followed up by 14-3 bombardment of Hofstra. Senior co-captain attacker Charlotte Schmidlapp was impressed with her team’s aggressiveness on both sides of the ball in the two victories.
“Basically just playing defense all over the field let us get the ball back a couple of times,” Schmidlapp said. “We were able to capitalize on offense by getting the ball back so much.”[img_assist|nid=28839|title=Senior Charlotte Schmidlapp streaks past a Columbia defender on March 8 in the Red’s 16-2 win.|desc=Senior Charlotte Schmidlapp streaks past a Columbia defender on March 8 in the Red’s 16-2 win.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
The Red players hope that they can maintain that intensity and combine it with solid team play and even better offensive execution to help themselves improve for the games over the break.
“We have been taking a lot of shots, but we want to score more goals on the shots that we do take,” Schmidlapp said. “We have good energy and I think we are trying to play together. … We are always working everyday to be the best team that we can be, and that is something that is driving our season so far.”
The Red knows that it will be a tough test against a highly-ranked Vanderbilt team that is considered to be one of the nation’s top teams.
“They are obviously a very good team,” said junior goalkeeper Renee Hughes. “They are going to be the strongest opponent that we have faced thus far. I think that we just need to realize that we have accomplished a lot already early in the season and to build on that and keep our momentum going. If we work hard and do the little things, like getting the ground balls and draw controls, we can beat anyone.”
The Cornell players are careful not to worry too much about their opponents and are more concerned with concentrating on their own play.
“We are trying to not pay too much attention to the rankings and just realize that any team can beat any other team on any given day,” Schmidlapp said. “We know what they are like, and I don’t think we are scared of them, but we are definitely going to bring our best game. We respect all of our opponents equally so we are trying to focus more on ourselves than Vanderbilt.”
The Vanderbilt game gives Cornell the opportunity to establish itself as a ranked team. A victory in that game would provide a huge boost for the rest of the season.
“I definitely think that it would [put us on the national stage],” Hughes said. “I think that would be really great for us to know that we are capable of beating such a competitive team like Vanderbilt, and it would help us gain even more momentum and more confidence which would play in down the road when we face our Ivy opponents and other tough opponents.”
The Red has not really started to look ahead to the New Hampshire game just yet, but the team is aware that it will be a competitive game.
“I’m not as familiar with New Hampshire as with Vanderbilt, but I know that they have been doing really well this year and giving a lot of teams close games,” Hughes said. “So I think that we need the same type of mentality because they are a scrappy team. We need to outwork them and outhustle them and hope for the best.”
Cornell will then finish off its spring break schedule when it returns home for next Saturday’s conference game against Penn.
Cornell is not upset at all by the fact that the team will be spending Spring Break on the lacrosse field instead of on vacation. Hughes and Schmidlapp both recognized that the break provides an excellent opportunity for the team to improve and to have fun together.
“I think going into playing Division I lacrosse, that kind of comes with the territory,” Hughes said. “You know that your season is spring, so Spring Break is just an opportunity to maybe play a further away opponent and to spend a little bit more time on lacrosse than you get to do when you are in classes.”