February 25, 2009

Young W. Lacrosse Squad Starts Off Season at Home

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[img_assist|nid=35518|title=Bring on the cavalry|desc=Noelle Dowd ’08 takes on three Bulldogs in the Red’s 8-6 win over Yale on April 19, 2008.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
After graduating seven seniors, the Red has regrouped from its second place finish in the Ivy League last season. With such a young team, consisting of 21 freshmen and sophomore players, Cornell is looking for some of this new ability to step into more prominent positions on the team. In addition, six returning starters will demonstrate their knack, including junior goalkeeper Kristen Reese and All-Ivy players Kelly Hansen, a senior defenseman, and Tissy O’Connor, a junior midfielder.
Reese, who became a prominent, consistent goaltender last season, will return to net hoping to improve her 10.05 goals-against average and 45 percent save percentage.
Helping Resse in front of the goal, the Red’s defense has been ranked among the top backfields nationwide for its steady work and is looking to maintain its strong presence and further cut back its 9.4 goals allowed per game.
With only four seniors on the roster, the Red is altering its attacking and midfield lineup for the new season. Many upperclassmen, who are returning from injuries, will prove a vital role in leading Cornell in scoring opportunities along with the underclassmen’s hard effort and hustle.
“We are looking to improve on last year’s play. We are trying to be a strong team and we set ourselves goals that we are looking to accomplish,” senior captain Jessica Wiegand said.
With a 10-6 record in 2008, which included four major victories against top-20 ranked teams, Cornell ranks No. 16 in preseason polls and strives to move forward with an eye on the NCAA tournament.
“We have a very aggressive and experienced team that I think will flourish because there is strong teamwork and cohesiveness,” said senior captain Deirdre Lafferty. “I expect to be very competitive in the Ivy League.”
The Raiders (2-0) come to the Red on a two-game winning streak after defeating LaSalle last weekend, 16-1. Cornell must be ready for Colgate’s balanced offensive lines after nine different players recorded goals for the Raiders in the LaSalle game.
However the Red is not overly worried in this home opener, leading the all-time series with Colgate, 22-14-1, after a 16-7 win over the Raiders last year.
“It’s a great opener for us. They definitely have been a competitive team in the past but one that we will be able to handle well and a nice game to see how our play is matching up against competition,” Lafferty said.
Throughout the preseason and in preparation for this week’s game, the Red has been working on strengthening and conditioning with three hours of practice six days a week. Along with strategizing on its offensive and defensive skills, Cornell has gone back to the basics, working on ground ball and drop controls.
“Colgate is a snappy team so we are going to work on the basics like passing and catching and putting two solid halves together,” said Wiegand. “We are just looking to be competitive.”
Using this game as an important starting block, the Red is hoping to learn a lot about itself during this game and see how the teams stands offensively and defensively against a well squared opponent.