With two weeks left in the regular season, Cornell women’s softball heads on the road this weekend to take on regional rival Binghamton and South Ivy opponent Penn. The Red will face the Bearcats for two games on Thursday and play a pair of doubleheaders against the Quakers on Saturday and Sunday.
The Bearcats (21-12, 7-2 America East) have played well in a strong conference, according to Cornell head coach Julie Farlow ’97. The Red are expecting a pair of difficult games.
“Binghamton is pretty tough,” Farlow said. “They have a lot of offensive power.”
The Quakers (15-19, 3-9 Ivy) are a very familiar opponent for Cornell (8-22, 3-9 Ivy) because they are fellow South Ivy members. That means the two teams face each other four times every season. According to Farlow, Penn graduated a very tough pitcher last spring, but retained another in senior Alexis Sargent.
“Penn is doing better than their Ivy record shows,” Farlow said. “Alexis Sargent … throws hard.”
With so many games at this point in the season, Farlow said that preparing for games is a balancing act between resting her players and getting in the practice they need. For example, senior pitcher and outfielder Meg Parker pitched three times this last weekend and will not pitch again until facing Binghamton on Thursday. Farlow said her practices are, “a little bit of everything.”
“Practices become a little bit more meat and potatoes,” Farlow said, adding, “It’s a lot more repetition at practice.”
Parker said that Cornell is more concerned with preventing its opponents from scoring than scoring themselves.
“We’re definitely focusing on defense,” Parker said.
Cornell has been playing as well all season. The Red took four of six games from Albany and Columbia last week. They now sit tied for third with the Quakers in the South Ivy standings, four games behind Princeton with eight games to go.
“I do think we are playing at our best,” Farlow said. “If we can maintain this level, I would be very happy.”
Parker thinks the Red can still improve their pitching and strand fewer of their own runners.
“No, I don’t think 100 percent yet,” Parker said. “I won’t think that until we win four [Ivy] games in a weekend.”
On the other side of the coin, Cornell is viewing its successful week as a confidence boost. According to Parker, the Red now knows what they are capable of as a team.
“Winning four out of six is what we needed to know we could do it,” Parker said.
“We played very well against Albany and that kind of set the bar,” Farlow said.
Looking ahead to the rest of the season with only two weeks of games remaining, Parker and Farlow are keen on making a run at the South Ivy division crown. Farlow pointed out that Cornell finishes its season with four games against the division leading Tigers next weekend, and that, “anything can happen.”
“I think winning the South Conference is very realistic,” Parker said, adding, “Neither Penn or Princeton is better than us.”
Farlow wants to have something to play for on the last weekend of the season. If all goes right this weekend, that is still possible.
“I want us to compete right to the end,” Farlow said.