Cornell’s strong tradition of impressive redheads seems destined to continue this season, if rising sophomore Kelly Hansen’s freshman year stats are any indication. The 6-4 middle blocker from San Diego, Calif., made an immediate impact on the Red squad. Hansen led the squad in total blocks (112) and blocks per set (1.20), good for a top-40 national ranking. The rookie also made a mark on the offensive end, ranking fourth on the team in hitting percentage, with .270, as well as a fifth-place ranking in total kills (133). To close out the season, Hansen hit over .400 for three straight matches. Hansen will be joining rising senior Juliana Rogers as they look to fill the large shoes left behind by graduated middle blocker Emily Borman this season.
Rising senior goalkeeper Melanie Jue was integral to the field hockey team’s 6-1 season in 2008. During a season in which seven games were decided by a single goal, the Red depended heavily on Jue’s prowess between the pipes to pick up victories. Jue posted a 2.13 GAA during the 2008 season, and is expected to be even better in 2009. Jue also plays defense for the women’s ice hockey team, making her one of the few dual sport athletes at Cornell. Jue’s final season with the Red will be defined by her ability to keep the Red competitive during tight games against its Ivy League rivals. In the past two seasons, the Red has finished near the top of the standings but has never taken the Ivy title. Jue’s efforts in goal this season will be integral to the Red’s hopes for a title in 2009.
Last season, rising junior forward Riley Nash led the men’s hockey team in scoring with 35 points, including a team-leading 22 assists and 13 goals. The 2008 ECAC and Ivy League Rookie of the Year, Nash followed up his breakout season by earning first-team All-League accolades as a sophomore –– the first Cornell player to do so since 2005. He was also invited to the selection camp for Team Canada for the World Junior Championships, though ultimately fell short of making the final roster. On Feb. 21, Nash notched his first career four-point game with two goals and two assists against Union. Despite being a first-round draft pick by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Riley Nash, younger brother of rising senior defenseman Brendon Nash, has elected to suit up for the Red for his third, and potentially fourth year. Earlier in July, the Alberta native participated in team building and physical endurance exercises with his future Oilers teammates at the Edmonton Garrison. An offensive threat with solid fundamentals, Cornell head coach Mike Schafer hopes that Nash will continue to be one of the top scorers on both the team and in the league, and will also look for him to be more of a physical presence. [img_assist|nid=37499|title=Wily Riley|desc=Rising junior forward Riley Nash led the Red with eight multi-point games in 2008-09. Nash earned ECAC and Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors in 2007-08.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
A standout in high school in Michigan, Simaz matriculated to Cornell and quickly made his presence known, taking home the EIWA Championship at 197 pounds in his first-ever EIWA appearance. Despite being a rookie, Simaz jumped headfirst onto the mat with the veterans and his fearlessness and skill did not go unrewarded. Simaz was awarded All-American status, first-team All-Ivy honors, and brought home both the Ivy League Rookie of the Year and EIWA Freshman of the Year trophies. While it goes without saying that wrestling head coach Rob Koll expects big things from Simaz this season, his eighth-place finish at the NCAA tournament is an indication that the rising sophomore’s climb to the top is just beginning.
It’s not easy for a rookie midfielder to find playing time behind Max Seibald ’09, John Glynn ’09 and Rocco Romero ’09 — one of the most talented midfields in college lacrosse during the 2009 season. All the same, Lang, a rising sophomore, forced his way into the rotation and proved to be a solid defender and talented scorer in transition. In his rookie campaign, Lang played in all 17 games and scored nine goals and two assists. A two-time high school All-American at St. Ignatius Preparatory School in California, Lang used his athleticism and size (6-3, 185 lbs.) to make a big impact in big games. He grabbed 35 ground balls on the season and caused 10 turnovers — fourth on the team.
Out of the team’s nine freshmen, Ivy League Rookie of the Year Rob Pannell received the most attention from the media, and deservedly so. But with all three starting midfielders from 2009 gone, expect Lang to play a huge role in the 2010 campaign.