The women’s soccer team sure is glad to be home. A dreadful six-game road trip — in which the Red lost all six matches — is finally over. Cornell (1-6-1, 0-1 Ivy) will face Penn (4-2-1, 0-1 Ivy) tomorrow in the friendly confines of Berman Field.
“On the bus [after the Colgate game], we were already excited to play at home,” said interim head coach Gretchen Zigante. “We’ve got Friday and Tuesday at home. Every time you walk out on Berman, it feels good, and hopefully those emotions will help us.”
Since winning its opener on Spet. 3 against Lafayette, 3-2, Cornell has gone winless in its last seven games, with losses in the last six. The Red has scored only four goals throughout this winless streak. However, with Ivy League rival Penn coming into town, the team is confident it can put an end to these streaks.
[img_assist|nid=18652|title=the long run|desc=Senior midfielder Kaitlin Dufton, who has four shots over six games this season, chases the ball during the Red’s scorless tie with St. Bonaventure on Sept. 6.|link=popup|align=left|width=100|height=77]
“They are a solid team all the way around,” Zigante said. “They aren’t as fast as Colgate, but they are physically strong, and play a similar system to ours. If we can play well without making mistakes, we should be able to handle them pretty easily. But with a lot of emotion and tension, anything can happen.”
Penn features a balanced team with many different scoring options. Freshman Jessica Fuccello leads the team in scoring, with three goals and one assist. Senior captain and defender Tracy Bienenfeld is also an offensive threat, with two goals to her name. This game will feature a matchup of two freshmen goalkeepers, with Carlyn Swensen manning the net for the Red and Cailly Carroll between the pipes for the Quakers.
In its last match against Colgate, the Red staked an early lead on senior Caitlin Oliver’s goal, only to fall behind later and lose, 2-1. Against a strong opponent, the Red was able to keep the game close. However, merely keeping the game close is not enough for Zigante.
“We played very well. Colgate is a very good team, ranked seventh in the region right now; but I think we held our own for the most part,” she said. “We need to settle down and play our own game. We need to keep the pressure up, and we need a goal or two early.”
On offense, Oliver has been irreplaceable for the Red. Using her 5-11 frame as a target for her midfield teammates, the dynamic forward has been able to put together a solid campaign. Oliver currently leads the Red in goals with three, and if Cornell is to beat Penn, she will likely need to have a big game, according to Zigante.
“We ask a lot of her, because sometimes, in a more defensive contest, she’ll even be the only forward up there,” Zigante said. “We ask her to hold on to the ball and also score goals. I am very proud of her, and her play has been great.”