Over Spring Break, the women’s lacrosse team will travel to Florida to compete against two competitive opponents. The Red will head first to the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. to compete against Notre Dame (5-0) and then to Jacksonville, Fla. to compete against Jacksonville.
The Red (5-0, 2-0 Ivy League), who comes into Saturday’s game fresh off of a record breaking 21-7 win over Canisius College (2-4, 0-0 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference), will not find an easy victory in Notre Dame.
“They’re the highest ranked team that we will have faced yet this year,” said head coach Jenny Graap ‘86. “They’re also undefeated.”
According to Graap, the Red has never had a better record going into a game against Notre Dame. In its last game against Canisius, the Red scored 21 goals, a feat the team hasn’t accomplished since its 1994 game against Rutgers. Senior attack Jessie Steinberg scored five goals, a record high for her this season, and senior goalkeeper Kyla Dambach, junior goalkeeper Courtney Gallagher and freshman goalkeeper Carly Gniewek combined to save a total of nine shots.
If Cornell were to beat the Irish on Saturday, it would be starting the season at 6-0, something it has not accomplished since 2003. The Red did defeat the Irish last year, but it only narrowly came away with a one goal victory.
“Depending on the results of their game and the results of our game, I think that what we can anticipate a very competitive battle,” Graap said. “It’s going to be a very emotional game.”
While a win against Notre Dame would be a great achievement for the Red, Graap continues to take it one game at a time in anticipation for the NCAA tournament.
“We’re still working to get better and better,” Graap said. “You want to peak in May in the NCAA tournament … and we haven’t played our best lacrosse yet.”
After Notre Dame, the Red remains in Florida to compete against Jacksonville University (4 – 1, 1 – 0 Atlantic Sun Conference). This will be the first time the women’s lacrosse team, or any Cornell sports team, has ever played Jacksonville.
“I think the challenge there is that we’re not very familiar with Jacksonville,” Graap said . “I’ve never coached against that program, and no Cornell team has ever played against that program … We have zero experience in going up against them. We know that they’re a perennial powerhouse in their conference.”
One thing that Graap continues to strive for is to help the Red constantly improve. According to Graap, spring break offers the team the unique chance to focus only on improving all aspects of its game without the worry of extensive schoolwork.
“We have to continue to drive our skills and improve our stick work and our knowledge of the game, so we can execute more sharply,” Graap said. “The team has to continue to change and grow.”