March 31, 2011

Tigers Usher in Stretch Run for Women’s Lacrosse

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This weekend Cornell women’s lacrosse will play one of the most important games of its season.  The Red (3-5, 1-2 Ivy League) will host Princeton (4-3, 1-0) tomorrow afternoon  at 12 p.m. at Schoellkopf Field.

In order to qualify for the Ivy postseason tournament Cornell has to win at least three out of four remaining Ivy League games. A loss this Saturday will mean that the team will have to beat remaining opponents Yale, Brown and Dartmouth to make the tournament.

“We have two losses against Harvard and Penn,” said tri-captain and senior attackman Libby Johnson. “We definitely need to get more wins on the board — only the top four teams make it [into the Ivy League tournament]. If we win we put ourselves in a much more comfortable position going forward.”

Princeton (4-3) is currently ranked twelve in the nation. The Tigers have only had one Ivy League game so far — winning against Brown, 17-5. The game against Columbia, scheduled for March 23, however, was postponed until later in the season.

“They’re coming off of a strong win against Georgetown which has given them confidence, so we will definitely have to work hard for a win on Saturday,” said junior midfielder Katie Kirk.

So far the only team to match both Cornell and Princeton has been Rutgers. The Red fell to the Knights, 7-11, in the first game of the season; however, Princeton was able to come away with a win against them in overtime, 9-8.

“[Princeton is] having a good season … they have some good senior leadership,” Johnson said.

The Red is taking this week to focus on some aspects of the game it had struggled with in the three games over spring break.

“The past couple days we’ve been focusing on our aspect of the game, new looks in our attack and defense working on higher pressure plays,” Johnson said.

“We have been focusing on paying attention to details in everything we do,” Kirk added. We’ve made it a goal this week to make sure that everyone is taking care of the simple, little details so as a whole we are generating clean productive plays.”

Cornell has shown a tendency this season of being unable to fully maintain a complete sixty minutes of competitive play — having great highlights, but also let downs that are often devastating. Rectifying these mental slips will be key to improving the team’s record this season.

“Over spring break, we started each game flat and made mental mistakes, which put ourselves in a hole right from the start,” Kirk said. “This week we’ve been focusing on the mental aspect of warm-ups so that we can come out strong.”

“Our team really wants to focus on starting the game strong,” Johnson said. “We’ve been focusing on being ready to go and not letting the other team dictate what is happening in the game.”

The results of the Cornell-Princeton game will be especially interesting; last year was the first time in 22 years that Cornell women’s lacrosse had defeated Princeton.

“It’s definitely a confidence builder,” Johnson said.

Cornell will be looking to maintain the trend of keeping the Tigers at bay at 12pm on Saturday at Schoellkopf Field.

Original Author: Rebecca Velez