After last weekend’s losses to the Tigers, the Elis (8–20, 6–9 Ivy) fell to sixth place in the Ivy League. A home series against seventh-place Cornell (11–15, 3–6) has potential to add to the Bulldogs’ win column.

The series against Cornell marks the last time the team’s seniors, infielder Kortney Ponce ’22 and pitcher Miranda Papes ’22, will stand alongside their teammates in their home dugout.

“I think my time as an Ivy league athlete has really shown me that anything can happen at any given moment,” Ponce, who is the team’s captain, said. “No team is destined to win or lose — it really all depends on who shows up to the field that day ready to win. You really have to show up ready to play and ready to compete at all times. No pitch, play or at bat can be taken for granted because it’s anyone’s ballgame until the end of the seventh inning.”

Ponce’s time as a Bulldog has not been easy. First, the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted her collegiate career. Then, she tore her ACL this past fall.

She has been unable to play during her final season as a Bulldog due to her injury. Despite being sidelined, she has led a young Yale team to Ivy wins against Columbia and Dartmouth. Cornell lost to Columbia earlier this year.

“I think I speak for many of us when I say that our captain has exceeded our every expectation,” utility player Carmen Muscolina ’24 said at the beginning of the season in reference to Ponce. “We are so fortunate to get to be on this team with her and to get to experience the epitome of a good teammate. Despite her injuries and the universe’s attempt to throw obstacles her way, she shows up with the biggest smile and it’s contagious.”

The Yale team hopes to rally after getting swept by Princeton last weekend in order to secure a 0.500 conference record and to give the seniors a proper sendoff at home. 

Although the team has a losing record, the Bulldogs have proved to be a tenacious bunch. Since starting Ivy play, the team had not lost more than two games in a row before its series against Princeton.

“Our team has grit! There have been a lot of injuries this season and seeing how our team has been able to play through position changes and adversity is something really special,” Papes said. 

Yale will continue to have its work cut out for them this weekend. Cornell is on a three-game winning streak after beating Princeton in its last game of the series two weeks ago and then sweeping Ithaca College in a double-header on Wednesday, April 20. Cornell’s series with Harvard scheduled for last weekend was postponed due to Harvard’s COVID-19 protocol.

As the Elis look to beat the Big Red this weekend, the team will celebrate their two seniors at home. Both Ponce and Papes have been affiliated with the Blue and White for the last five years after taking leaves of absence during the pandemic.

“Yale softball has provided me with the opportunity of a lifetime. I got to live my dream of playing college softball and I made lifelong friends along the way,” Papes said. “I will miss it dearly, but I know that I will be a part of Yale softball forever.”

It has been three years since Yale and Cornell have competed against each other. The last time the two teams met was in March 2019 when the Elis swept the Big Red in the series. 

Yale will play Cornell at home this weekend in a double-header on Saturday, April 23 along with a third game on Sunday. The first games of the day will both begin at 12:30 p.m.

Rosa Braceras covers Women’s Ice Hockey, Softball, and other sports news. She is a senior in Benjamin Franklin College majoring in History.