April 29, 2010

Women’s Lacrosse Faces Dartmouth in First-Ever Ivy League Championship

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Coming off a much-needed win over Yale in Sunday’s Senior Day game to keep its hopes of postseason play alive, the women’s lacrosse team will take on the Green today at 4 p.m. at Penn’s Franklin Field in the first-ever Ivy League Championship. The conference round robin will determine which of the four qualifying Ancient Eight teams will gain access to the NCAA tournament. Awarded the No. 3 seed in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament, Cornell (5-8, 4-3 Ivy) will face No. 2 Dartmouth (10-3, 5-2 Ivy) in the first round for a chance to compete against the winner of the No. 1 Penn (12-3, 7-0 Ivy) versus No. 4 Princeton (6-9, 3-4 Ivy) game on Sunday, May 2. “We have been focusing on appreciating what a great opportunity it is to be able to represent Cornell in the first-ever Ivy Tournament,” said senior midfield Lindsey Kane. “What’s really unique is that teams get a second crack at each other, and we are really psyched to reflect on our first game against Dartmouth and learn from our performance. The defense is looking to disrupt Dartmouth’s attack by increasing the pressure behind the net, as that is where Dartmouth’s attack looks to get settled and set up plays. They are a very methodical team so we think our aggressive game plan will create some big defensive stops.” While the Red was forced to hit the road yesterday afternoon to bus down to Penn for the highly anticipated contest, several players with Pennsylvania roots welcomed the location enthusiastically.   “It’s very exciting to play in my home state,” Kane said. “Lots of friends and family will be there to cheer us on. What’s even better is the Big Green has a much longer commute to endure!” Dartmouth, which is currently ranked No. 10 nationally, has relied on its strong defensive work ethic to hold opponents to an average of 7.2 goals per contest this season. On the offensive end, the Green is also producing five more goals a game than its competition with the help of attacker Greta Meyer (30 goals, 22 assists) and midfielder Sarah Plumb (19 goals, 12 assists). Between the pipes for Dartmouth, starting goaltender and captain Julie Wadland boasts a .468 save percentage to add to the Green’s intimidating set of team stats. “Dartmouth really likes to work the crease and take strong righty drives from up top,” said senior goalkeeper Kristen Reese. “We’re looking to play solid team defensive with high pressure on ball, our goal being to disrupt their offense and force them to make passes and take shots they don’t want. We’ve also been working really hard on our ride in an effort to force a lot of turnovers in the midfield.” “This game is going to be a very physical one,” Kane said. “We had over 30 fouls the last time we played Dartmouth, and that hurt us a little. I think if we can defend aggressively but cleanly we will come up with the ‘W.’” In Cornell’s 31-game history against Dartmouth, the Green has come out on top 25 times to the Red’s mere six. However, the Cornell program has been growing stronger in recent years by notching three victories and four one-goal losses in its last 10 rendezvous with Dartmouth. “Today, our goal is to play an aggressive, high-paced 60 minutes,” Reese said. “We really want to push the fast break and change the point of attack to keep their defense on its heels. We want to take pride in our midfield ride and put lots of pressure on them in our defensive end.” In its last meeting with the Red on April 10, the Green slipped away with the win, 9-6. But following its victory over Cornell, Dartmouth suffered defeat at the hands of Ivy rivals Penn and Princeton. The fact that the Red edged out the Tigers on April 3 for the 11-8 win bodes well for Cornell as the four contending Ivy schools all appear to have a fair shot at the crown. Clinching the Ivy League Championship would present the Red with its fourth bid to the NCAA tournament. “I think that Princeton’s win over Dartmouth shows that any team can win any day,” Reese said. “We’re going into this game confident, but in no way underestimating Dartmouth’s ability to pull out a win. I think we have improved a lot this season, and we’re ready to take this tourney by storm and show the top half of the Ivy League what we can do.” “We went up on the crescent yesterday before we left just to look down at the Cornell campus and Schoellkopf Field to remind ourselves that we’d be representing the University as a whole this weekend,” said junior tri-captain Libby Johnson. “We want to make a mark on this first-ever Ivy League Lacrosse Tournament.”

Original Author: Jane Peters