The women’s soccer team earned its fourth win yesterday, defeating Lafayette 1-0 at Berman Field in the fourth meeting between the two programs. The Red (4-1, 1-1 Ivy) has already equaled its entire win total from last season in the just the fifth game of the season. The Leopards, meanwhile, fall to 4-3 on the year as they begin their conference schedule on Saturday at Bucknell. There were several lineup changes for the game, with four backs starting instead of the five started in the past two games.
“We had to make a few changes; a couple of people were playing injured, and then our leader in the back, [junior] Karne [Hukee], didn’t play at all. Given those things, we’re happy with the results,” commented head coach Berhane Andeberhan.
The booters came out strong in the opening minutes, pressuring the Lafayette defense. Senior co-captain Sarah Olsen opened the scoring chances when she launched a shot from 20 yards that just missed the right post. Lafayette was unable to muster any drives upfield for most of the first half, as Cornell’s backs would immediately clear the ball back to midfield.
Freshman forward Shannon Fraser demonstrated her speed early in the game, streaking down the right side of the field, beating several backs in the process. In the 27th minute, Fraser found junior Emily Knight upfield, who outmaneuvered several Lafayette defenders before returning the ball to Fraser, who was open in the middle of the box. Fraser then drew out Lafayette goalie Ashley Wesmiller before placing the ball in the right side of the net for the only goal of the game. This was Fraser’s second goal of the season, with her first score recorded last week against Colgate. Both of her goals have been game-winners.
The Red mustered 12 shots against the Leopards in the first half, with Lafayette keeper Ashley Wesmiller recording four saves in the half. On the other end, sophomore Katie Thomas wasn’t challenged early, with Lafayette barely getting the ball through the midfield until the later part of the half.
Emily Myers, Lafayette’s leading scorer this season, entered as a substitution midway through the first half. She immediately began to show her presence as she generated the Leopards’ best scoring chances of the half. Her first two surges downfield were stopped by freshman back Phela Townsend. Towards the end of the first half, Myers rushed down the left side of the field on a breakaway and crossed the ball in front. Fortunately for the Red, no one was there for Lafayette, and Thomas quickly smothered the ball.
In the opening minutes of the second half, Lafayette applied offensive pressure that had been almost completely absent in the first half. It took a while for the Red to regain control and push the ball back towards the other end.
“In the first half, it was a little too easy to move the ball around, so then we started to get complacent and we lost our edge,” remarked Andeberhan. “When you lose your edge during the course of the game, it’s hard to regain it. They did their best, and they tried to do what I asked at halftime.”
The Red’s best scoring chance in the second half was stopped by two brilliant saves from Wesmiller. The Leopard keeper deflected a Cornell shot near the right post, and the ball bounced in front of Knight, who had an open look at the net. Wesmiller recovered from her first save attempt and made an incredible dive to block Knight’s shot.
The second half was played very physically, with Lafayette trying to outmuscle the Red. This led to five fouls committed by Lafayette and three by the Red. During the latter part of the half, the game turned into a big shoving match, with both teams fighting intensely for the ball.
The booters got quite a scare in the 75th minute when Olsen slid a pass to freshman Michelle Quensell in the Lafayette box. After completing the pass, Olsen fell on her shoulder, and remained on the ground for a few minutes before being helped to her feet.
“I was glad they taped her pretty heavily, and for her confidence I wanted her to get back in for the last five minutes,” said Andeberhan. “Last year she played all but two games with a bad injury she suffered in the summer. She’s a tough one, which makes it hard to know how badly hurt she is,” he continued.
Lafayette applied some offensive pressure in the last ten minutes. Myers took a long shot from the left side that Thomas deflected into the middle. Fortunately for the Red, sophomore back Kate Quintalino was there to clear the ball out of the box. Knight nearly put the game away for the Red after receiving a pass from junior Whitney Cale. Her shot beat Wesmiller but inched just wide of the right post.
In the last three minutes, the Leopards kept the ball at the Cornell end but failed to convert. Thomas ended the game with four saves for the Red and earned her third shutout of the season, lowering her goals against average to 0.60. Wesmiller finished the game with eight saves for Lafayette.
The Red will look for its fifth win of the season on Saturday when they face off against Ivy rival Yale at 4 p.m. at Berman Field.
Archived article by Jonathan Auerbach