After Wednesday’s game against Albany was rescheduled due to Winter Storm Stella, Cornell women’s lacrosse returns to competition this Sunday against the USC Trojans in Boston. The game promises to be fast-paced and highly competitive, with USC currently ranked fifth in the country and Cornell ranked 11th.
The Red (4-1) utilized its weather-induced time off this week by drilling fundamentals at home in Ithaca, giving the team an extra edge to focus on taking down the Trojans (5-1) this weekend.
“Although we were looking forward to competing against a talented Albany team, we are using the extra time between games to reinforce our fundamentals and clean up execution details that have given us trouble in our first five games,” said assistant coach Bill Olin. “Having the opportunity to focus on Cornell lacrosse has been huge for us to continue to peak as a team.”
Sunday’s game will mark a historic first meeting between the Spartans and the Red as the Trojans take a competitive tour of the East Coast. Cornell enters the competition with the momentum of a three-game winning streak, after dominant performances over Columbia (14-11), Colgate (13-6) and Penn (10-4).
The Trojans also hold a three-game winning streak, but they will have one more opportunity to compete prior to facing the Red this Sunday, as they travel to Hanover, N.H., to compete against Dartmouth on Friday afternoon, before heading down to Boston.
The Red will continue to rest and focus on strategy in the meantime, scouting out USC’s strengths and weaknesses as the Trojans take to the field Dartmouth Friday afternoon.
“USC is a top team in the country, so they are going to be skilled all over the field,” said senior captain Kristy Gilbert, one of Cornell’s top scorers. “Their goalie is on the USA team, so focusing on faking her and placing our shots is a priority. They are also very good on the draw, so being aggressive and winning the ground ball fight will be important.”
The Red has been led offensively this season by seniors Amie Dickson (seven goals, 12 assists), Catherine Ellis (12 goals, four assists) and Gilbert (12 goals, one assist). These three — along with younger players Sarah Phillips, Taylor Reed and Tomasina Leska — will carry the Red’s offensive line to make headway against USC goalie Gussie Johns and her defense.
Cornell’s defense will be on the lookout for the Trojans’ All-American senior attacker Michaela Michael, who leads USC’s team with 14 goals and 10 assists, along with her fellow senior attackers Kylie Drexel (nine goals, five assists), Gabby McMahon (12 goals, five assists), and Cynthia Del Core (11 goals, five assists).
“USC is an athletic team that runs some unique sets defensively and in their ride,” Olin said. “They are skilled on both sides of the ball and their athleticism gives them the flexibility to throw a number of innovative looks. Preparing for something that is different from what we have seen so far this season is always a challenge, but we are excited to put together a game plan to force them out of their looks.”
Cornell and USC will face off at noon on Sunday, March 19 at Boston University’s Nickerson Field.