January 14, 2013

#LMranks: No. 15 Cornell Big Red (Women)

Cornell's Caroline Salisbury will be the primary target on scouting reports in 2013.
© Cornrell Athletics

by Brian Delaney and Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Team Page/Schedule

Lacrosse Magazine is counting down its preseason rankings throughout the month of January exclusively on LaxMagazine.com.

Today continues a look at our NCAA Division I Top 20 rankings. For more, visit LaxMagazine.com/LMranks. Follow @LacrosseMag on Twitter and Tweet using the hashtag #LMranks. The countdown will resume Tuesday with profiles of the 14th-ranked teams in NCAA Division I men and women.

Power Ratings

Offense: 4
Defense: 3
Goalkeeping: 3
Draw: 3
* Out of 5

Top Returner

A Caroline Salisbury (Sr.)
"Sawls" enjoyed a breakout junior season playing alongside such productive stalwarts as Jessi Steinberg and Olivia Knotts. This year, opposing teams will focus their full attention on Salisbury, who possesses not only the team's hardest shot, but also one of the most accurate coach Jenny Graap has ever seen entering her 16th season with the Big Red.

X-Factor

G Courtney Gallagher (Sr.)
Gallagher started three games as a junior behind Kyla Dambach and has the inside track on the starting job over Carly Gniewek, who started once as a freshman. Both have the confidence of the coaching staff. Graap has traditionally built her team from the back line forward, and would love to see this question mark transition into a team strength.

What's New?

Graap shook up Cornell's slate of non-league opponents: Penn State, Albany, North Carolina and Boston University are new to the Big Red's calendar.

What's Not?

The struggle for Ivy supremacy. Cornell was one of four teams with a 5-2 league record or better in 2012, and failed to reach the NCAA's. Penn won the regular season title despite a lengthy list of injuries. Dartmouth claimed the automatic bid. Harvard and Princeton were dangerous every night out. Says Graap: Expect more of the same in 2013.

#LMranks WD1 Preseason Countdown

No. 20 Princeton
No. 19 Boston College
No. 18 Stony Brook
No. 17 UMass
No. 16 Towson
Monday: No. 15 Cornell
Tuesday: No. 14
Wednesday: No. 13
Thursday: No. 12
Friday: No. 11

More: Countdown schedule | MD1 | MD2 | WD2 | MD3 | WD3 | JuCo | MCLA | WCLA

2012 Recap

Record: 11-5 (5-2 Ivy League)

In a nutshell: While they won 11 times, and only lost five with none of those defeats considered ugly, Cornell couldn't quite break through in a tight Ivy League race. Losses to Penn and Dartmouth during the regular season caused the Big Red to be part of a logjam in the standings and they finished tied with Dartmouth and Harvard for second place. A nine-member senior class led them. Graduated offensively are 114 goals and 44 assists, a starting goalie and three other defensive stalwarts and more than 50 percent of last year's draw control wins.

High point: A 17-10 win over then-No. 11 Loyola on April 14. The Greyhounds had won six of their first eight games of the season with the other losses to top 5 teams Syracuse and Maryland. Cornell handed Loyola a third defeat.

Low point: A 9-8 loss to Dartmouth in the Ivy League tournament semifinals. It was the last game of the Big Red's season. Cornell was on the wrong side of the May Madness bubble on Selection Sunday.

2013 Preview

Best case: Cornell's offsets graduation losses with a 10-member freshman class, including West Genesee (N.Y.) star Emily Tripodi, who will likely start at attack. Maddie Kiep's skill set can be utilized in myriad of ways, and her height (5-foot-10) makes her an intriguing addition at draw controls. The same can be said for 5-10 frosh Abby Hanson. Kate Ivory, back from an ACL injury, will help the defense. The Big Red is right in the thick of another Ivy League title race, and its tougher non-conference schedule helps them come tournament time.

Worst case: The tougher non-Ivy schedule proves too touch and a few early losses in-conference dash the Big Red's national tournament chances.

Rival Coaches Say

"They aren't flashy, but they do all the little things right. They will challenge in the Ivy League and could possibly end up in the expanded NCAA tournament, even if they don't with their conference... They work the ball well to find open people when their top players are under heavy pressure... No. 5 through No. 20 is so competitive. You have to pay attention, because they're capable of an upset."


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