April 14, 2011

Pride Is Driving Force for W. Lacrosse to Take On Brown

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Following its devastating loss against No. 19 Dartmouth last weekend, the Red (3-7, 1-4 Ivy League) must recover and improve in order to overcome yet another conference rival. Cornell will host Brown (5-6, 1-3) at Schoellkopf Field at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Coming off of a tough loss to the Green, 13-7, the Red will look to improve its conference standing with a victory over Brown. The Bears are currently in the midst of a four game losing streak, and are in desperate need of a win against the Red. With only four games remaining in the regular season, the Red needs to defeat all of its remaining opponents in order to finish the season with as many wins as losses.

“At this point, a lot of things haven’t gone our way, so now we’re playing for pride and playing for each other,” said junior defenseman and tri-captain Caroline Helmer.

When the Red last faced Brown in the regular season, it was able to sneak past with a close win, 10-9. Junior attackman and tri-captain Jessi Steinberg, this season’s offensive star, was able to put four goals in the net against the Bears. Junior midfielder Shannon McHugh also contributed two goals and emerged with three draw controls. On the other side of the field, the Bears feature junior attackman Kaela McGilloway, who earned four goals in the last meeting between the two teams. The rally McGilloway started, which included three consecutive scores in the second half of the game, almost lifted Brown to a victory over the Red.

Brown is ranked one spot above Cornell in the Ivy League and will be battling to maintain that position on Saturday. The Bears currently lead the Ancient Eight in shots per game, goals per game and draw controls.

So far, Brown has faced the same in-conference opponents as Cornell, and has seen similar results. Both teams defeated Columbia, but fell to Princeton, Harvard and Dartmouth.

Led in points by two freshmen, attackman Bre Hudgins and midfielder McGilloway, the Bears are expected to be a formidable challenge for the Red. Hudgins has registered 28 goals this season alone, while McGilloway has notched 22. In Brown’s most recent game against No. 3 Duke, Hudgins found the back of the net four times, in addition to two assists.

“They have strong attackers, and we respect the fact that they are all a threat,” Helmer said.

In order to hold off this offensive threat, the Red will have to adjust its playing style on Saturday.

“[Brown] is known for a different type of defense, so we definitely want to focus on moving the ball a lot. We need to step up and play together, not just rely on one person to score all the goals,” said junior midfielder Katie Kirk.

For the vast majority of Brown’s games, Isabel Harvey has been between the pipes for the Bears. Harvey boasts a .407 save percentage this season, and has played in 10 of the Bears’ 11 contests.

For the Red, junior Kyla Dambach has been the leader in goal with a .345 save- percentage, though sophomore Courtney Gallagher has also spent a significant amount of time defending for Cornell as well. Dambach registered six saves in the Red’s last game against Brown, which helped propel Cornell to victory.

Despite the fact that Brown is currently in the middle of a losing streak, senior attackman and tri-captain Libby Johnson suggests that the Bears should not be underestimated.

“From past years, we know that [Brown] is physical, fast and aggressive, so we are thinking that they are going to be a challenging team [to beat],” Johnson said.

The Red’s track record against Brown, however, does leave room for optimism. In the last 11 matchups between the two teams, Cornell has come out with a win each time. The Red will look to continue the winning trend on Saturday.

“Our goal is to come away with our next Ivy League victory and to play our hearts out … for a whole 60 minutes,” Johnson said.

“In this game, we need to play hard, play smart and play together,” Helmer added.

Original Author: Alane Trafford