March 29, 2011

Red Overcomes Slow Start to Spring Break

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The Cornell softball team finished Spring Break with a pair of wins at Maryland on Sunday morning to finish off a 9-7-1 road trip that included games in Virginia and Washington D.C. After starting the week 3-5-1, the Red was able to turn it around on Thursday and finished the week 6-4 to bring its record to 11-11-1 heading into Ivy League play. The Red faced ten different teams over nine days.Cornell started the week with a 4-2 win against Howard on March 18 but ended up losing later the same day by a score of 3-2 in extra innings against Albany. On March 19, the Red lost to Monmouth, 7-3, and then faced George Mason for the third time this season. Although the Patriots defeated the Red in the two previous games with exciting finishes, Cornell got its revenge in a strong performance, winning, 5-0.“We lost to [George Mason] before and they were really tough losses,” said sophomore catcher and outfielder Kristen Towne. “But this third time, the game was not even close and it felt great for us to get the win. It was a mental switch for us and we definitely felt better about ourselves.”The Red faced Howard once more on the following day and won again, 5-1, to finish up its slate of games in Fairfax, Va. After one rest day, Cornell resumed play on March 22 in D.C. against George Washington with a doubleheader. The Red started to show signs of fatigue as it lost, 7-6, and then tied, 1-1.On March 23, the team traveled to Blacksburg, Va. to face Virginia Tech and lost its first game, 9-0. Later in the day, the team was able to fight and stay in the game, but still lost, 6-3. The second game helped the team mentally as it realized it could stay competitive against a strong team like the Hokies, according to the Red.“When we played Virginia Tech [March 23], there was a huge difference in confidence between the first and second games,” said senior co-captain and pitcher Elizabeth Dalrymple. “We showed we could compete and it carried into the next day. We finally had confidence in ourselves after seeing our potential.”Despite the loss against Virginia Tech, Cornell started its next day strong against Liberty in Lynchburg, Va. to take a 10-6 victory, but then suffered a 9-1 loss. The Red then traveled to Farmville, Va. and beat Longwood, 4-2, but then lost to the Lancers later that day, 9-1. After that point, though, the Red did not lose as the team beat Mount St. Mary’s, 4-3, on Saturday and 16-10 on Sunday, while also defeating Bucknell on Saturday, 6-0, and then 4-1 Sunday in Emmittsburg, Md.The Red is impressed with the way its strong finish to the week.“We relaxed on the field and played the way we can,” Dalrymple said. “We started out the week and struggled a bit in all areas but we competed with some good teams and beat some good teams. We ended the week with four wins and we’ve been hitting better and playing defense well.”“We started the week slow and later we really picked it up,” Towne said. “We’re very optimistic now. If we were asked earlier, we would’ve not been so sure after the first weekend, but we are now confident about our game.”The week itself was also extremely taxing, both physically and mentally, for the team. Although the team usually has a schedule of four games over two days on the weekend, the team’s schedule had seventeen games over the span of ten days, which led to many doubleheaders.“It was definitely tiring,” Towne said. “You could feel the difference from how you felt from your first game and the last game. During spring break, we just go, go, go and there’s no time to iron out the flaws and we have to work on the fly.”“It was difficult but I think we did a good job,” Dalrymple said. “We just took it pitch-by-pitch, game-by-game. We didn’t look at the week as a whole.”In the end, the week served its purpose as a tune-up for the players to get comfortable on the field and prepare for Ivy League games.“My goal this week was just to enjoy my last Spring Break and prepare for the Ivies,” Dalrymple said. “Our stuff is coming together, especially with the new people. We have every class on the field and everyone’s confident and relaxed. The Ivy teams are always a challenge and winning or losing one game is a big deal. We have to stay mentally tough and I think the week helped us get to where we needed to be.”

Original Author: Wankyu Lee