Currently ranked seventh in the nation, the Cornell women’s lacrosse team is on a hot streak and is looking to take down yet another non-conference opponent. The Red hits the road to take on Rutgers this Saturday.
This will be the two teams’ first meeting in three years and their 18th meeting all-time. Cornell leads the overall series 13-4.
The Scarlet Knights (7-4), a member of the Big 10 athletic conference, will provide the Red (6-1) with a valuable opportunity to test its prowess against another national top-30 team.
“What has been very consistently true about Rutgers is that they’re very athletic,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “They’re very tough and hard-working. They’re always a challenge.”
Cornell will look to extend its five-game winning streak and preserve its undefeated away record by continuing to stick to the fundamentals.
“We’re still focusing on us a lot,” Graap said. “We’ll try to simulate the Rutgers offense and defense at practice so our players are ready.”
The Scarlet Knights have won every game this season in which they were leading at the half, so a strong start will be imperative for the Red.
“It’s our goal to start well because we want to put ourselves in a position to control tempo and to put the other team on their heels a little bit and take them out of their comfort zone,” Graap said. “So strategically it makes a lot of sense for the Cornell women to be in an attacking mindset, even as defenders they’re sort of attacking the other team and they’re forcing them to adjust.”
Though the Scarlet Knights may be good at starting games off, the Red has been able to stay calm under pressure and rally back to take the win multiple times this season.
“I do like that we’re scrappy and that we’ve been able to come from behind with both Columbia and Yale,” Graap said. “But I would also argue that we should be in the driver’s seat a little bit more and not put ourselves down, in which case we have to claw ourselves out of the hole.”
Approaching the halfway point in the season, the Red has established itself as a force to be reckoned with. This squad took down national powerhouse No. 10 USC and won every game thus far except for a narrow one-goal loss to No. 5 Penn State.
Cornell has also been able to win in various different scenarios. The Red has pulled out wins despite trailing at the half or being tied with two minutes left in a game.
“We’re learning lessons along the way,” Graap said. “There’s not a perfect formula. I think it’s good to be able to find ways to win, whether you’re leading at halftime or whether you’re in a deficit.”
Staying true to its motto of “get better everyday,” the Red looks to continue improving and put itself in a good position for the post-season, which includes the Ivy League and, potentially, NCAA tournaments.
“I like to just keep the focus on one game at a time,” Graap said. “[We will] certainly keep the focus on the immediate opponent, which is Rutgers.”
Action gets under at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 1 at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, N.J.