With a four-game losing streak on its mind, the women’s soccer team will head to New York this weekend looking to turn its season around. The Red (1-4-1) and Columbia (2-3-2) will square off tonight, with both teams looking to begin their Ivy League campaigns with a win.
“I think we were frustrated, not only to lose, but to lose those extremely competitive games,” said interim head coach Gretchen Zigante. “I think this has made us stronger as a team. It showed us that we can play with competitive teams, and this gives us confidence going into Ivy League play.”
[img_assist|nid=18490|title=Lucky seven|desc=Junior midfielder Mariye Wick takes a shot during the Reds game against St. Bonaventure on Sept. 6. (Ryan Dunn / Sun Staff)|link=popup|align=right|width=100|height=70]
Indeed, the Red has not had it easy of late. Cornell has lost its last three games on goals scored within the last three minutes of each match. The three game-winning goals have come with a combined 3:15 remaining on the clock.
However, with the start of the Ivy League season, the Red will have a chance to show its character and makeup. The Lions represent a perfect opportunity for a turnaround; Cornell leads the all-time series 17-3, including four straight victories. However, Zigante knows the Red can’t and won’t take anything for granted.
“Columbia has always been a tough opponent. Even though we’ve beaten them the last four years running, in this league you can win or lose to any team. They always play hard, and I think both teams will play very well,” Zigante said.
On offense, the Red will turn to seniors Caitlin Warren and Alison McKeown. Both are tied for the team lead in goals with two apiece. Warren scored the only goal for the Red on its Hawaii trip. Freshman forward Eva Dixon has been a valuable asset to the offense, generating chances for herself and for her teammates. In the midfield, the Red is led by senior Jessica Snyder.
“We’ve got to finish our chances. When we’re in front of the net, we need to capitalize,” Zigante said.
The real strength for the Red, however, has been on defense. Led by junior co-captain Leslie Campbell, the Cornell backside has been dominant.
“We can’t have any lapses on the defensive end. We’ve been very strong there so far. Leslie has been incredible, and no one has beaten her one-on-one,” Zigante said.
In goal, freshman Carlyn Swensen has established herself as the starter. Thus far, she has been solid.
“[Swensen] doesn’t play like a freshman. She is very athletic, and played at a very high level with her youth club. She has a great understanding of the game and a very strong kick and punt. It’s the best we’ve had at Cornell,” Zigante said.