This Sunday, the Quakers will square off with Cornell in a battle of the two top Ivy League teams. We took a moment to catch up with Cornell’s head coach Jenny Graap, a Pa. native now coaching at her alma mater.
Daily Pennsylvanian: Your team is off to a great 6-0 start, including an impressive win over Penn State and two wins in the Ivy League. What has your team done to be so successful early on?
Jenny Graap: We have worked hard in the off-season to be prepared. Our strength and conditioning coach Tom Howley instills discipline and attention to detail in our Cornell athletes. WLax is fortunate to train under coach Howley, and we embody his lessons in all that we do. Our assistant coach Jen Baker has also been a tremendous asset in preparing our players, particularly for the mental aspects of competition. We have strong leadership on the squad and our players are unified both on and off the field. Our 2013 season has started off well, and Cornell has been fortunate to learn from our mistakes in games while still winning. Sometimes it takes a tough loss to teach important lessons, but we are staying focused on growing and improving as individuals and as a collective team regardless of our record.
DP: Lindsay Toppe already has 25 goals in just six games after having 11 all of last season. Only a sophomore, how important has she been to your team and how much better can she get?
JG: Toppe is a talented athlete with an exceptional lacrosse IQ. She is composed no matter what the defense throws at her, and her coaches have been very impressed with her development. She learned a ton during her freshman campaign and she has improved on all levels. Toppe's quickness and defensive ability allows her to be one of Cornell's most impactful players in our ride.
DP: Your team dropped two tough Ivy League games to Penn and Dartmouth last year, both by a goal. What does your team need to do to get over the hump and win those close games?