March 28, 2008

Red Takes on Nationally-Ranked Tigers

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After dropping its last three games, two by just one goal, the women’s lacrosse team has been chomping at the bit for a chance to play and to get back to its winning ways. This weekend’s opponent, however, will be no easy victory for Cornell. Princeton is 6-0 and ranked No. 2 in the country. The game will be at Princeton, but fans of the Red (4-3, 1-1 Ivy) can watch the two teams square off on national television on CBS College Sports.
“This team is excited to play,” said assistant coach Laurie Tortorelli DeLuca. “I think we’ve learned some things over the week of Spring Break and we’re very excited to get out of that week, as [last week’s] record could tell you.”
The team went 0-3 over the break, including two close, one-goal losses in its last two games against University of New Hampshire and Penn.
[img_assist|nid=29201|title=Last to laff|desc=Junior Deirdre Lafferty (7) and the Red defense is ignoring the hype around Princeton’s highly-efficient offense.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“We’ve had some really quality games the last few games that we’ve played but we’ve just come up one goal short,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “I think we’re ready to take the step and make it happen for us. Princeton is an excellent squad and we know that, we’re just fired up and ready to give it our best effort.”
“Going into this game we have some good experience with coming down to the wire and trying to adjust some of our decision-making that we’ve made in the past,” DeLuca said. “We’ve learned from that and I think we’re going to give them a good game hopefully.”
The Tigers haven’t lost to the Red since the 1985 season and are one of three Division I teams in the country that still boasts an undefeated record. Princeton’s vaunted offense — as the Tigers are scoring on .496 percent of their shots this season for an average of 11.33 goals per game — is led by senior midfielder Katie Lewis-Lamonica with 13 goals. While Lewis-Lamonica makes most of the goals, the playmaker behind the offensive machine is senior attacker Ashley Amo, who has 13 assists on the season in addition to seven goals of her own. But the Red defense is unfazed by gaudy numbers from Princeton’s key cogs.
“I think our defensive set from last weekend worked extremely well for the unit in terms of maintaining a high-pressure type of defensive look,” DeLuca said. “All week long we’ve stressed that we’re going to play our style of defense, we’re going to try to shut down our opponents’ strengths but maintaining what we’re really good at as a unit is going to be key in terms of finding success in this game. We’re going to maintain high pressure against Princeton and we’re going to try to shut off their feeding a little bit because they do love to feed inside the 8-meter.”
The players also know they can’t focus on Princeton’s stars and risk neglecting the attention of other offensive components.
“They like to really spread it out,” said senior midfielder Katherine Simmons, “and they have a lot of different players playing so in our preparation we’re going to consider everyone a threat and treat everyone like they’re the leading scorer.”
No one is taking the threat posed by the Tigers idly, yet the team thinks that, with the way its practices have gone, it has a legitimate chance against the higher-ranked school.
“We all believe that we can beat Princeton, and we’ve been playing that way this week,” Simmons said. “It really doesn’t matter who it is this weekend. It’s just the fact that we lost our last three games, and we can answer back. The fact that it’s Princeton makes it even more exciting.”