Behind Enemy Lines: Cornell women’s lacrosse’s Jenny Graap

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Courtesy of laxmagazine.com

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?

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Penn wrestling at Columbia: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

 

Good Bad & Ugly

 

 

 

 

 

We break down what was good and what was not for Penn wrestling in its 23-9 win at Columbia on Saturday:

THE GOOD: Early domination

With uncertainties in the middle of the lineup and Micah Burak not at one-hundred percent, it was pivotal for the first three Quakers to get big wins, and that they did. Mark Rappo earned a bonus point in the first bout, Jeff Canfora dominated his bout, and C.J. Cobb earned Penn an additional bonus point in the third bout. Their efforts in getting the Red and Blue off to an 11-0 start proved to be the difference maker.

THE BAD: Struggles in the middle

The Quakers won the first three bouts and last three bouts, but in the middle, Penn was outwrestled and lost 3 of 4. In fairness to the Quakers though, Columbia's Steve Santos is ranked sixth in the country in the 149 pound class, and Jake O'Hara also boasts a national ranking at the 157 class. 5 wrestlers in all were ranked (3 for Penn), and all came out victorious.

THE UGLY: Micah Burak’s flu

We don’t know for sure what it looked like, but there’s no way Burak’s flu could have been pretty. The senior and contender for a national championship struggled all week with the illness and was a game time decision for Penn. Though he was able to win, Burak certainly was not himself. With the postseason looming, Burak’s health will definitely be something to watch for.

Penn baseball’s reaction to the Hall of Fame’s “no-vote”

While surprised, players respect the writers maintaining the integrity of the sport.

For the first time since 1996, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) failed to elect a single eligible member to the Hall of Fame. The vote, a shock to baseball fans around the country, left notable players such as Barry Bonds, Craig Biggio, Roger Clemens, and Mike Piazza among others out of the Hall.

Their exclusion was undoubtedly a statement made by the BBWAA about their opinions of performance-enhancing drugs and the players that dominated the Steroid Era. Bonds, the game’s all-time home run king, was expected to be left off the ballot due to his admission of use but players like Biggio and Piazza, who never tested positive, were victims of guilt by association. Biggio eclipsed the 3,000 career hit milestone that normally guarantees a spot in the Hall, and Piazza is considered by many the greatest offensive catcher ever.

But how do Penn’s baseball players feel about the vote?

“It’s a bit of a letdown,” starting pitcher Matt Gotschall said. “But I respect the voters for keeping the game’s integrity by keeping steroid users out of the Hall of Fame.”

Gotschall’s sentiment echoed throughout the rest of the team, as many players were quick to blame the vote on the effects of performance-enhancing drugs.

While fellow junior pitcher Cody Thomson and outfielder Brandon Engelhardt agree that the Hall of Fame got it right this year by keeping steroid users out in 2013, they wonder what the future holds for Cooperstown.

“I think it's a win for the sport of baseball in the short run to let it be known that performance enhancing drugs are wrong, but it would be foolish to never let in the elite of their class without at least an asterisk,” Engelhardt said.

Thomson furthered the insight on ‘entrance with an asterisk’, believing that the Hall of Fame should acknowledge the Steroid Era and explain it to visitors, because although it is a black-eye on the game’s history, it was a major story and cannot be avoided.

While everyone interviewed was in favor of sending a message to PED users, Thomson also believed that the Hall of Fame voting committee made a few major mistakes this year. "Guys like Biggio and Schilling deserved to make it,” according to the right-hander.

The situation will get even hairier next year for the BBWAA when legendary pitchers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Mike Mussina are added to the ballot along with slugger Frank Thomas.

While the debate will rage on for years about how to handle steroid users in the Hall of Fame, junior third baseman Rick Brebner has an easy solution. “Let everyone in,” the third baseman jokingly added.