After falling short of its postseason goals last spring, the Red is looking for redemption this season.
Cornell has established itself as a force to be reckoned with in the Ivy League and at the national level, winning back-to-back Ivy League Championships in 2016 and 2017 and making NCAA tournament appearances both years. However, after struggling last year, the team is looking to reestablish itself as a powerhouse.
Helming this year’s squad is head coach Jenny Graap ’86, supported by assistant coaches Bill Olin and Margaret Corzel, senior captain Sarah Phillips and junior captains Caroline Allen and Mary Kate Bonanni.
Though the Red graduated a strong class of seven seniors last year, the team welcomed eight freshmen to fill their shoes.
“[The coaching staff and I] believe this group brings an impressive collection of strength and talent to our Big Red program,” Graap said in a press release earlier this year. “Our newest members will be both challenged and supported as they strive to be the best in the classroom and on the field.”
The team is also committed to upholding the tenets of the “brick” as a symbol of a “blue collar mentality — a willingness to come early, stay late and grind.” The coaching staff is trying to build a team ingrained the three components of brick — hard work, team-first attitude, and positivity.
“We see these three bricks as the foundation of our program and the key to help us get to where we want to go,” Allen said. “They are the values we hold and strive to embody each day, on and off the field. With this strong foundation, we are able to build on it and grow.”
Channeling this growth mindset, the team has set its sight on earning titles both at the conference and national level.
“Our team goals are always to have the most successful season possible,” senior attacker Phillips said. “This means winning both the regular season Ivy Title, as well as the Ivy League Tournament to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament. Beyond just winning games, we are constantly challenging ourselves to grow and improve our culture, which is something we take great pride in.”
The team will have its first opportunity embrace its growth mindset and to prove its tenacity this Saturday, as it travels to Pennsylvania to take on the Villanova Wildcats at 1 p.m. in its season opener.
“Heading into Villanova, I think our focus remains relatively unchanged in that we want to emphasize preparing ourselves to play our best as a team,” Bonanni said. “We want to be able to perform the best we can, while continuing to support and challenge each other along the way.”
After spending the preseason integrating the freshmen, committing to the brick mentality, and grinding on the field and in the weight room, the Red looks poised to reassert itself as an Ivy juggernaut.
“Coach Olin, Coach Corzel and I really feel lucky to have this group of women who value and respect our program,” Graap said. “The invigorated leadership among our juniors and seniors has allowed them to set strong examples for the sophomores and freshmen.”