After notching its first Ivy League win against Columbia last weekend, the women’s lacrosse team (7-5, 1-4 Ivy) will look to add another league win against the Cornell Big Red this Saturday.
Following a below .500 performance last year, the team has played itself to a strong record, but the Elis still need to win their last two conference games — against Cornell and Brown — to qualify for the Ivy League Tournament. Facing the Big Red at home, the Bulldogs may have an advantage: Although Yale is just 2-2 at home, Cornell (7-5, 3-3 Ivy) struggles on the road, having won just two of the six games away from Schoellkopf Field. Most recently, Cornell was dealt a crushing away defeat 16-4 at the hands of No. 5 Syracuse. But Yale should expect a tough competition from Cornell, ranked fourth in the Ivy League, as both teams enter needing a win to have a chance at a postseason appearance. Yale should also be wary of the Big Red’s offense which is ranked first in goals per game in the Ivy League.
“I think we are both talented teams who are in similar situations at this point in our seasons. It will definitely showcase two teams with a lot to gain,” goalie Erin McMullan ’14 said.
The Elis will rely on top point-getters team captain Devon Rhodes ’13 and freshman midfielder Nicole Daniggelis ’16, to provide the offensive threat, as they have all season. Rhodes, who has 15 points over the last three games, will look to continue her great form and add to her team best 13 assists. Although she did not play in the first two games, Daniggelis has scored in every one since, averaging four goals per game in her last seven contests.
“I think I’ve been able to score a lot because of how my teemmates set me up. I’m just in the right spot at the right time and my teammates always find me in the open,” Daniggelis said.
On the season, Daniggelis is ranked in the top 30 in the nation and second in the Ivy League in scoring. Daniggelis is also fifth in the country in draw controls per game.
“The Cornell game is definitely our biggest of the year, so I feel we will go into it more ready and excited then ever. We just need to play our game and put together a complete game for 60 minutes and we will come out with the win,” Daniggelis said.
A win against Cornell will require coordination on both ends of the field. The Bulldogs will rely on McMullan, who saves close to 40 percent of goals on defense and ranks third in the Ivy League in saves per game, to protect the goal from the Ivy League’s best-scoring offense. The Bulldog defenders will have to be wary of Cornell’s Lindsay Toppe, who ranks third in the Ivy League in points per game.
This season, both Cornell’s offense and defense have performed better than Yale’s. The Big Red score 12.45 goals per game to the Elis’ 11.42 and Cornell allows 10.00 goals per game to Yale’s 10.83. Cornell’s scoring margin of 2.45 is in the top 30 in the nation.
The teams’ matchup last year went in Cornell’s favor, 17-9, though McMullan guarded the goal well, saving 19 of the 36 shots Cornell attempted. The wide disparity in shot attempts in that game (36 to 11) indicates problems on both defense and offense for the Elis. However, Yale has been playing at an offensive level not seen since its 11-win season in 2008 and is confident in its young and ever improving team. McMullan noted the importance of approaching the game with energy.
“Cornell is a scrappy team,” she said. “If we bring the same intensity on Saturday that we have had all week, we’ll challenge them for every 50-50 ball.”
The face off is at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Reese Stadium.