Fresh off a decisive season-opening victory against Villanova, the No. 14/15 Cornell women’s lacrosse team looks to continue gaining steam as it takes on the No. 6 Penn St. Nittany Lions on Saturday afternoon at Schoellkopf Field.
The Red (1-0) will attempt to build upon the solid foundation it built for itself during the preseason, clearly evidenced by the 18-6 loss it dealt the Wildcats last Saturday.
Cornell has already displayed a tremendous amount of depth; last week, nine different players found the net. The team also forced eight turnovers and fielded 20 ground balls.
“Our team is very strong all over the field,” said junior midfielder Taylor Reed. “There is not just one person that the other team can shut down. If they shut down one player, there are six more to step up and score,” she said.
Not to be outdone, the undefeated Nittany Lions (4-0) bring their own set of impressive stats to the field, as they look to extend their unbeaten streak. Penn St. has defeated three of the four teams it has faced this season by a nine-point margin or more — its closest match being a two-point victory over No. 19 Towson (2-2).
Unfazed by its opponent’s current dominance, the Red is as eager to take on Penn St. and continue improving as a unit.
“Our goal for the season is simply to be better everyday. It is early on, and we are taking the season one game at a time, starting with Penn St. this weekend,” Reed said.
The team has also identified its weaknesses from the previous game and is ready to turn them into strengths this weekend.
“As a team we had too many turnovers and had some plays that we can definitely clean up,” Reed pointed out. “Our riding and clearing game is definitely an area for improvement.”
The Cornell-Penn St. series has been back-and-forth the past couple of years. Last season, the Red won 10-7, but Penn St. handed Cornell a 13-9 loss back in 2015.
This Saturday’s match gives the team the perfect opportunity to hone its skills before beginning Ivy League play against Penn on March 4. Cornell finished last season with a 5-2 conference record and plans to have a successful campaign again this season.
“As a team, we are very close, and that is one thing that helped bring us so much success last season,” Reed said. “Carrying that same close bond into this season is a strength for our team.”