The women’s soccer team will meet its toughest opponent of the year tomorrow, when Cornell travels to face No. 21 Yale in New Haven, Conn.
The Red (6-4-0, 1-2-0 Ivy) is in the middle of a tough, four-game losing streak. Cornell opened the year with six wins, but has struggled on offense of late.
The Red lost, 3-0, against Harvard at Berman Field on Saturday. However, Cornell outshot the Crimson, 22-14. Harvard goalie Katie Shields had 10 saves in the game.
“We were disappointed in the loss,” said head coach Berhane Andeberhan. “We played well, but we made some tough mistakes.”
The Red will need to play a nearly error-free game against Yale (9-2-0, 2-0-0 Ivy). The Bulldogs opened their season with losses to nationally-ranked Duke and North Carolina, but the team has won nine straight games. Yale defeated Harvard, 2-1, in overtime on Oct. 1.
“I think [Yale] is clearly the best team in the league,” Andeberhan said. “They play a good game of soccer every time we play them.”
Yale features a balanced offense this year, along with excellent goalkeeping. The Bulldogs have also been helped by a talented freshman class, as a number of first-year players rank among the team’s offensive leaders. Freshman Crysti Howser leads the way for the Bulldogs, with five goals and two assists. Senior Laurel Karnes has added three goals and three assists for Yale.
“They are a balanced team,” Andeberhan said. “They’re a team that has been building every year. They were already good [before this season], and I honestly can’t think of a weakness.”
The Bulldogs have been very strong on defense, allowing only five goals all year. Goalkeepers Susan Starr and Chloe Beizer have shared time in net this year. Starr has recorded a .917 goals against average, while Beizer has earned a .824 average.
Despite Yale’s impressive stats, Ivy League soccer is known for frequent upsets, and Cornell will look to counter Saturday with more accurate offensive attack.
“The quality of our shots need to improve,” Andeberhan said. “We’ve worked really hard on our finishing. We need to take good shots, and not shots that go right to the goalkeeper.”
Cornell is led on offense by senior co-captains Kara Ishikawa (5 goals, 3 assists) and Shannon Fraser, who has recorded four goals this year.
Meanwhile, junior Katrina Matlin, along with freshmen Taylor Hendren and Jessica Lebo, have shared time in net for Cornell this year. The goalies have combined for a .720 goals against average.
Andeberhan also noted that the team has worked on certain defensive problems, including dealing with crossing passes from opponents.
“We’ve been working hard to solve that issue,” he said. “We need to do a better job on defense, and with our goalkeeping, to deal with crosses.”
Yale defeated Cornell, 2-0, at Berman Field last year. The game was generally even, and the Bulldogs scored both their goals within a short, eight-minute period in the first half.
Archived article by Ted Nyman
Sun Staff Writer