With sole ownership of the best record in the Ivy League, and its best-ever start to a conference season, the Cornell softball team is certainly in good position to secure another league championship. However, under no circumstances will the team allow itself to slip into complacency. The players take every game seriously, including the midweek matchups that do not count toward Ivy League standings. For instance, today at 3:30 p.m., the Red (21-8, 7-1 Ivy) will host local rival Syracuse (19-16, 5-3 Big East) in a doubleheader at Niemand-Robison Field. And although a win would not alter the pecking order in the Ivy League ranks, senior shortstop Alyson Intihar emphasized that getting a victory is still important. “The midweek games are a good tune-up for us,” she said. “They keep us prepared for the Ivy League games on the weekend, which is what really matters.”To defeat the Orange and earn that momentum, however, Cornell will have to be on the top of its game. The last time the Red was in Syracuse, the game ended in an 8-0 loss after only five innings. This time around, though, Cornell hopes that the outcome will be different. Indeed, there is good reason to believe that the Red will fare better this season. Last week, Cornell won all six of its games, scoring an average of more than seven runs over that stretch. In addition, the Red’s offense combined to produce a collective batting average of .369. The pitching performance was led by junior Elizabeth Dalrymple who went 3-0, striking out 32 batters and preventing earned runs for a 21.1 inning stretch.Freshman catcher Kristen Towne suggested that the Red’s recent success is due to the team’s strong chemistry.“We all get along really well,” she explained. “That helps because it allows us to be comfortable playing next to each other. Some of the pressure is taken off when you’re comfortable with the teammates surrounding you.”Intihar also agreed that the team chemistry has been effective lately.“We’re really starting to come together as a team … we just keep gaining experience as we play through the season,” she said. However, the opposing team is not lacking in experience, either. In fact, Syracuse has been just as successful as Cornell lately, winning five of its last six games in the Big East conference. The Orange is led offensively by sophomore outfielder Lisaira Daniels, whose batting average stands at .382. Daniels also has six doubles, 18 RBI and 28 runs scored on the season. Sophomore Jenna Caira provides the Orange with a dominant pitching presence this season — sporting a 9-8 record with a 2.78 ERA and 152 total strikeouts. In a matchup against a very formidable Syracuse team, Cornell’s impressive depth will certainly enable it to compete effectively. Though there is no special preparation occurring for these particular matchups, the players are quick to admit that the midweek games are still crucial to the team, especially in maintaining its current momentum.
Original Author: Hannah Fillas