July 13, 2008

Cornell Crystal Ball: Previewing 2008-09

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Men’s Basketball
The reigning Ivy League champs will attempt to defend their title during the 2008-09 season. The Red’s chances look good, as the team will return every player from their championship season except forward Jason Hartford ’08.
The Red will look to ride a potent offense orchestrated by junior point guard Louis Dale, the Ivy League Player of the Year and an AP selection for honorable mention All-American, and anchored by senior Jeff Foote in the post and junior Ryan Wittman on the perimeter.

In his four years at Cornell, head coach Jim Knowles ’87 has made Schoellkopf Field a stronghold impregnable to opponents — the Red has gone 16-5 at home under Knowles.
Senior Nathan Ford will stand under center again for the Red. Despite various injuries in the 2008 campaign, the quarterback led the team with 209-of-332 passes for 1,902 yards and six touchdowns as well as three rushing touchdowns. His .630 completion percentage also ranked second all-time in a single season for Cornell. Senior two-time All-Ivy running back Luke Siwula will also return for a fifth year after red-shirting last season due to injury.

Men’s Cross Country
Although the men’s cross-country team lost some key seniors last year, including co-captain Sage Canaday, the squad has veterans such as seniors Zach Hine and Sam Luff and up-and-comers such as junior Charlie Hatch.

Men’s Ice Hockey
Cornell’s premier sports program will be looking to sophomore Riley Nash, who was named to the College News All-Rookie team last season, to help fill the void created by the departure of standouts and co-captains Topher Scott ’08 and Raymond Sawada ’08. Nash’s 32 points were good for second on the squad. Junior Colin Greening, a co-captain for the upcoming season, led the team with 33 points. With a full year of experience under his belt and the graduation of several top ECAC goalies, junior Ben Scrivens will be one of the top netminders in the conference. Scrivens (19-12-3) finished last season with a .930 save percentage and four shutouts.
The Lynah Faithful will be pleased with the Red’s rigorous schedule. The team will make its first-ever trip to North Dakota, which made the NCAA Frozen Four last year.

Men’s Lacrosse
It will be a brand-new squad that steps onto the brand-new FieldTurf at Schoellkopf Field come springtime. The Red lost nine seniors to graduation from the 2008 team that advanced to the NCAA tournament for the fifth consecutive season, but lost to Ohio State, 15-7, in the first round.
With graduates John Glynn, John Espey and Jake Myers, among others, out of the picture, the Red will lean heavily on junior Ryan Hurley and senior Max Seibald. Hurley enjoyed a breakout sophomore season, totaling 60 points on 46 goals and 14 assists to lead the Red. Seibald, an All-American and first-team All-Ivy for the third season, was third on the team with 27 goals and six assists.

Women’s Basketball
Don’t let March’s 89-47 NCAA first-round loss fool you, the Red had a standout season, last year, finishing 11-3 in conference, defeating Dartmouth in a three-way playoff by almost twenty points, and earning its first-ever NCAA berth in the process. Star junior Jeomi Maduka — Ivy League Player of the Year — has one more year to improve on her already stellar Cornell career. Maduka will be joined this season by junior guard Virgina McMunigal, and senior guard Kayleen Fitzsimons — replacing graduated guard Gretchen Gregg and forward Meghan Hughes.

Women’s Cross Country
After finishing second at the Iona Meet of Champions early in the season last year, placing seventh at Heps, the women’s cross country team finished out the season in November with a third-place finish at the ECAC championships. This year’s harriers will be looking to increase their team consistency, especially in the Heps and the NCAA Regionals. Junior Stephanie Pancoast, who was named to the 2007 U.S. Cross Country Coaches Association’s national All-Academic Team, will attempt to lead the team to more success this fall.

Women’s Hockey
The women’s hockey team finished the season with a 4-2 loss to No.1 Harvard in the ECAC semifinals, a fairly good outcome from a team that went 9-12 in conference play with 12-17-1 overall record. ECAC Rookie of the Year forward Rebecca Johnston, the first Red player to receive such an honor, will have to find help amongst her fellow underclassmen in order to replace departing star forwards Caeleigh Beerworth — named the team’s MVP — and Brianne Schmidt.

Women’s Lacrosse
The women’s lacrosse team finished last season with a 10-6 record, the Ivy League runner-up, but was passed over for an at-large bid in the NCAA brackets. This year’s squad will sorely miss its senior offensive power trio of Noelle Dowd, Courtney Farrell and Katherine Simmons, as well as the other four graduated seniors. Head coach Jenny Graap ’86 is betting on her incoming class of eleven freshmen to infuse the team with some new blood, including three high school All-Americans.

Men’s Soccer
The Red’s leading scorer from a year ago, Matt Bouraee, will return for his junior season to try to lead the team past last year’s 1-5-1 record in Ivy play. Cornell fared much better outside the league, however, with an overall record of 7-9-1. The program will make its first trip to the west coast in four years for the season-opening California Legacy Classic, hosted by Cal and Stanford. While the loss of Brian Kuritzky ’08 and his eight goals and two assists will hurt, the team will return 16 varsity players from the 2007 campaign.

Sprint Football
The sprint football team failed to defend its 2006 title, finishing third in the Collegiate Sprint Football League. However, the Red ended on a winning note, taking down title hopeful Army 14-7 at home.
Hopefully, the momentum from the last contest will carry over into the 2008 season. The team lost 13 players to graduation, but will bring back seniors quarterback Zak Dentes, wide receiver and all-purpose player Michael Brennan and running back Matt Malleo.

The golf team will have a challenge ahead in rebounding from the loss of their 2007-08 leaders on the links. The team, which finished fifth in the Ivy League championships, graduated four seniors: Robbie Fritz, Austin Lord, Bret Perry and Chad Bernstein.

Men’s Polo
The men’s polo team made it all the way to the national championships last season, but ultimately fell, 20-10, to Texas A&M. The team should get right back on the horse this year, as its two best players, sophomore Max Constant and senior Bobby Harvey, will both be back for the 2008-09 campaign.

Men’s Rowing
Todd Kennett ’91 will take the helm of the Red’s heavyweight rowing program as the Spirit of ‘57 Director of Rowing. Kennett was previously named the lightweight rowing coach since 1998 and led the team to three National titles. His varsity eight has placed in the top-6 nationally each of the last seven seasons.

After falling just short of an Ivy League title in each of the past four seasons, perhaps none more depressing than last year’s season-ending doubleheader sweep by the Princeton Tigers, Cornell appears poised to capture its first Ancient Eight championship since sharing the honor with Brown in 2004. This year the squad will be led by a pair of juniors, third baseman Elise Menaker and shortstop Alyson Intihar, who received first-team and second-team All-Ivy accolades, respectively, in 2008. On the mound, the departure of Jenn Meunier ’08 will leave sophomore Ali Tomlinson the unquestioned ace of Cornell’s staff.

Women’s Squash
Although Cornell was winless in Ivy League action last year, the team will look to carry its momentum from finishing runner-up in the Kurtz Cup Final last season into this year. Sophomore Jenn Gemmell, senior Alex Cornett and junior Liza Stokes will compete for the Red’s top spots.

Women’s Swimming
With 15 freshman and only three seniors on the roster, the Red was a predominately inexperienced team last year. Cornell, however, will try to turn things around this season after finishing eighth in the 2008 Ivy championship.

Women’s Tennis
Barry Schoonmaker will take over the head coaching duties for the women’s tennis team. Schoonmaker has served as the men’s tennis coach at Cornell since 1995. Seniors Elizabeth Googe and Tamara John should compete for the top singles spots.

Women’s Track & Field
The women’s track team will look to capture its eighth straight outdoor Heps title this season. Senior Jeomi Maduka, a six-time Ivy League Heps champion, and senior Maria Matos, one of the top discus throwers in the country, will lead the squad. Junior Natalie Gengel will also make key contributions after setting four school records in the pole vault in her rookie season.

This season Cornell will attempt to capture its third Ivy League championship in four years with senior captain Hilary Holland leading the squad. The Red will look to avenge a disappointing season last year, finishing 9-16 overall and 6-8 against conference opponents. Cornell will rely on the defensive prowess of junior Megan Mushovic, who set a school record for both digs per game (6.16, good for eighth in the nation) and in a single season (598) last season.

Men’s Squash
Although Cornell suffered a disappointing season last year, they were led by All-Ivy junior Chris Sachvie, who will most likely secure the No. 1 position for the Red again this season.

Men’s Swimming
Seniors Wes Newman and Phil Baity were named team co-captains for the upcoming 2008-09 campaign. Over the summer, Newman placed in the top-6 in two events at the Canadian Olympic Trials while Baity placed 49th overall in the 200 back (sixth in his heat) and 62nd overall in the 100 back at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

Men’s Tennis
This year’s tennis squad will be led by senior Josh Goldstein and sophomore Jeremy Feldman. Goldstein earned All-Ivy honorable mention in singles, and was named doubles honorable mention honors along with Weston Nichols. Feldman became the first Cornell player to ever capture Rookie of the Year honors and has yet to lose a match in conference competition.

Men’s Track & Field
This year, Cornell will look to capture its eighth consecutive championship. Seniors Zach Hine and Garrett Huyler will look to capitalize on impressive performances last year in which Hine established himself as the Red’s superior longer-distance runner and Huyler won his first Heps title in the high jump with a school-record jump of 7-6. Senior Erik Roneker will add balance to the team with his dominance in the weights events.

Seniors Jordan Leen and Steve Anceravage will lead the Red in its bid to secure its seventh consecutive Ivy League championship. Leen, the EIWA Wrester of the Year, won the NCAA championship at the 157 pound level last year. Sophomore Mike Grey will also be an integral part of Cornell’s success after an impressive freshman campaign, in which he led the Red with 42 wins.

This season, Cornell will attempt to climb out of the Ivy League last-place hole in which it resided during the past two seasons. The Red will rely upon strong pitching from junior staff ace Matt Hill and sophomore Corey Pappel. At the plate, the Red is led by senior catcher Nathan Ford — who led the team with a .410 batting average in 2008 — and sophomore Mickey Broadsky.

Last season’s strong second-place finish at the Ivy League championships, and a reserve championship berth at the Regional championships, capped a winter season full of almost-wins for the equestrian team. Five riders moved on to compete in the Zone championships in April. Junior Zoe Samuels, the only Red rider to qualify and compete in the NCAAs, will lead a fairly young team that only graduated five seniors last year.

Senior sabre specialist Alex Heiss will lead the fencing team this season as it tries to improve on its 11th-place finish at the NCAA Tournament, an impressive showing from the female-only squad. Earlier in the season, Cornell placed fourth at the IFA championships, its best showing in the history of the Red program. As the fencing team only lost one senior this past year — epee fighter Erica Waichman — and all four of the fencers who qualified for the NCAAs are returners.

Field Hockey
After a slow start, the women’s field hockey team finished the 2007-08 season with five Ivy wins for only the second time in team history. The team finished in second place in the Ancient Eight, with a 10-7 overall victory, and tied a school record for victories in a season. The team will be looking to increase its streak of three-straight winning seasons in Ivy play. Seniors Belen Martinez and Brenna Gulotta, a back and attacker, respectively, will lead the team following twin All-Ivy and Mideast Regional All-American honors.

The gymnastics team will be looking to improve on a solid season with last year’s USAG Coach of the Year, Paul Beckwith, at the helm. Beckwith guided the the Red to a second-place finish at the Nationals last season, setting three school records in the process. Seven gymnasts earned All-American honors, most of whom will be competing this season, including 2008 NCAA Northeast Regionals qualifier, sophomore Maddie Pearsall.

Women’s Polo
Women’s polo fought through an often weather-delayed season before losing to Connecticut in the Eastern Regional Finals at Oxley Equestrian Center. Only one senior graduated in May, however, so the varsity team and head coach David Eldredge ’81 will try and capitalize on its young, but experienced, squad in the upcoming season.

Women’s Rowing
The women’s rowing team enjoyed some early success in the first half of the season but fell just short of the mark in spring matches against Dartmouth and at the Dunn Bowl. The Red rebounded during the Eastern Sprints competition, finishing in 11th place in a large field, its best place since 2004. Both novice and varsity crews have room to improve, but the novice members will need to step up to fill in for the varsity crew’s recently-graduated members.

Women’s Soccer
The women’s soccer team will try to get back on track this season following a 4-12 overall record in the 2007 season. New to Cornell in 2007, head coach Danielle LaRoche was selected as part of the 2008 Adidas Elite Program Camp and will hopefully bring some of her Olympic Development Program tips back to the Red women. LaRoche’s eight-member recruiting class was ranked 94th nationally, the first time in Cornell program history that a class of recruits has cracked the top-100. Cornell was ranked No. 9 in SoccerBuzz.com’s Northeast Region ranking, the Red’s highest-ever ranking.