April 16, 2008

W. Lax Welcomes Loyola

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Cornell will take on Loyola in Ithaca today for a midweek matchup with the Greyhounds. The Red prevailed, 13-10, last season in Baltimore behind strong games from then-juniors Courtney Farrell (four goals, one assist), Noelle Dowd (three goals) and Katherine Simmons (three goals). Farrell scored her first goal just eight seconds into the contest, which tied an NCAA record for fastest goal to start a game. Interestingly, Simmons also tied that same record on Friday against Brown.
“We did have a very good showing against them,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “It was the last game of the season, we were very happy to end on a positive note after a difficult [5-10] season.”
Regardless of what happened last year, Graap knows that both teams are different from their last meeting.
“The outcome of the game in 2007 is probably not as important of a factor,” Graap said, “in that it is a different team this year. Playing them midweek at home at this point in the season for us is about being consistent and continuing to play well and improve with every game.”
The Red has been clicking lately, with three straight wins — including two just last weekend — and a player, Simmons, named Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week. The team also made its first appearance in the national polls this season; yesterday Cornell was ranked No. 18 in the IWLCA/Under Armour National Poll.
“I think Loyola presents a challenge because they’re a talented team,” Graap said. “They’ve got particularly three very strong attack players that have been putting up a lot of numbers this year.”
The Greyhound attack is definitely a high-powered one. Loyola is averaging 12.8 goals per game and 31.6 shots per game.
“They do like to rip shots for short so I think our defense and goalkeeping has to be solid tomorrow for sure,” Graap said.[img_assist|nid=29894|title=Getting recognized|desc=Senior midfielder Katherine Simmons (14) was named Ivy League Player of the Week.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
In addition to stalwart defense, much of the Red’s success will depend on the offense’s ability to maintain possession at crucial moments.
“In any game if you’re able to maintain possession and hold possession in your attacking end it frustrates your opponent and it gives them fewer opportunities,” Graap said. “We’re looking to have a strong day all over the field, and it would be helpful if our attack could hold possession. That’s a smart approach to neutralize the strength that Loyola has.”
If the Greyhounds are looking to avoid a repeat of Farrell’s eight-second performance, they’ll need to rely primarily on two defenders. Senior midfielder Kate Fillipelli won Big East Defensive Player of the Week after holding the nation’s points leader, Katelyn Catanese from The Mount, to just one goal in the Greyhounds’ 12-7 win over The Mount. Fillipelli is aided in the backfield by senior Kristen Stone.
“They have [Stone] in particular in the backfield… She’s in my mind one of the top defenders in the country,” Graap said. “Very solid positioning and a very smart player in the backfield. She’s the leader on that Loyola defense and she’s an important player definitely. She’s a strength and an asset for their team.”