Despite starting its third different goalie in as many games, the women’s soccer team (3-0-0) displayed no ill signs of adjustment – dominating much of its game against Buffalo (2-3-1) en route to a 2-1 comeback victory in its home opener.
Continuing to stick to a goalie-by-committee philosophy, freshman Taylor Hendren got her first career start between the pipes. Though admittedly nervous, the newcomer played strong, stopping seven shots and only surrendering one goal – the Red’s first goal allowed this season.
“I was really excited, but it was also a really nerve-racking experience,” Hendren said. “We were all really pumped about the home opener and it felt really good to comeback and win the game.”
Hendren now joins fellow Cornell goalkeepers freshman Jessica Lebo and junior Katrina Matlin with one win apiece on the season. However, the credit should be given to the defense’s ability to work effectively with whoever is in net.
“It’s hard when you’re a freshman, but the defense does a great job listening to me,” Hendren said. “They really show a lot of respect for the position.”
Though the Red outplayed the Bulls for much of the contest, Buffalo earned an early 1-0 lead courtesy of its veteran points leader Natalia Crofut. The senior picked up her third goal of the season, firing a shot into the left corner of the net at the 7:54 mark.
Facing the 1-0 deficit, Cornell settled down into its playing style, slowing the Bulls’ attack for the rest of the match. The Red would enjoy a 25-13 shot advantage on the afternoon.
“We didn’t play our best, but we really calmed down, especially in the second half,” said sophomore Mariye Wick. “At that point we started to dominate and really control the ball.”
Just before halftime, the Red used a quick a pair of strikes to put up all the scoring it would need on the day. Senior captain Kara Ishikawa sparked the offense, feeding midfielder Caitlin Oliver with a breakaway pass that the junior used to tie the score at 42:19.
Just over two minutes later, Cornell seized the lead seconds before the half expired. After senior Kelly Bowen’s free-kick clanged off the crossbar, Wick sent it into the net for her first goal of the season.
“It was a great free-kick from Bowen,” Wick said. “The ball just hit off the crossbar and ended up at my feet.”
In the second half, the Red continued to control the pace of play, outshooting the Bulls 12-7 after intermission.
Overall, Cornell came off the field pleased with a victory – especially after fighting back from an early deficit.
“Coming back is one of the best ways to win,” Hendren said. “It really shows a lot about the team.” “It’s one of the biggest differences from last year,” Wick said. “We were down today but we were always battling. We knew we were going to win.”
The Red will try to continue its unbeaten run early in the season when it welcomes Canisius and Lafayette to campus next weekend, before kicking off its Ivy League play shortly after.
“It is so nice to get three wins in,” Wick said. “We all feel ready for Ivy League play, which will be a step up from now.”
Archived article by Scott Reich
Sun Staff Writer