April 21, 2011

Red Hits Road for Bout With Yale to Close Ivy Play

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On Saturday the women’s lacrosse team (4-7, 2-4 Ivy League) will travel to play Yale (2-10, 0-5) in the last Ancient Eight contest of the season.

Both teams will be fighting for the chance to end their league play on a high note. Yale has struggled this season, losing every Ivy League game they have played, while  Cornell has defeated Columbia and Brown in six games. In the past few years the Red has consistently defeated Yale, and this year the team expects to continue that trend.

“We’ve beaten them every year for the past three years,” said senior attacker and tri-captain Libby Johnson. “Two years ago was the most recent close game.”

Junior attacker and tri-captain Jessi Steinberg, Cornell’s leading scorer, also has far more goals this season than any of Yale’s top players.  Devon Rhodes of Yale is currently the Bulldog’s leading attacker, with 15 goals this season. Steinberg has contributed 30 goals for the Red thus far.

The Bulldogs greatest strength lies with their experienced goalkeeper, junior Whitney Quackenbush, who has managed to achieve personal success this season, despite the team’s overall struggles.

Yale’s most recent competition was last Friday against Columbia, a game the Bulldogs lost, 10-3, en route to  Columbia’s first league win. Cornell defeated the Lions  in  March, 9-7.

The Cornell squad is enthusiastic and confident for this weekend, returning to action after a win against Brown last weekend, 14-7.

“Last weekend gave us confidence…we had a great game on defense and we want to carry that over,” said junior midfielder Katie Kirk.

This week in practice the team has been working on continuing to put strong defensive pressure on its opponents, along with continually creating scoring chances.

“We want every player on offense to be a threat on the attack,” Kirk said.

“We’ve been working on small skill work and making sure we have our stick skills down pat,” Johnson added. “We’ve worked on more of our attack plays.”

The Red still has three more games in 2011 in which it will look to perfect its offense. The win against Brown could prove to be the turning point in the season, as the squad showed that it was able to work cohesively to maintain a constant level of play.

“We were really happy with the way we played last weekend, and we want to build on that” Johnson said. “We worked really well as a team … and we’re looking to play even better [on Saturday].”

Even with much of the momentum in its favor, the Red is still anticipating a well-fought game. According to Kirk, over-confidence could prove to be a problem for the Red if it does not bring a focused and intense level of play.

“Yale has always been a strong program,” she said. “They will have nothing to lose, and will definitely come out strong.”

Original Author: Rebecca Velez