October 6, 2006

Red Tries for First Ivy Win at Harvard

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With a trip to Harvard (2-8-1, 1-1 Ivy) this weekend, the women’s soccer team will hope to end a couple of ugly streaks. A current eight-game losing streak and an even longer nine-game winless streak weigh heavily on the minds of the Red. After a difficult road trip on which they lost all six games, the Red (1-8-1, 0-2 Ivy) came back to Ithaca with a renewed sense of optimism. However, the home field failed to offer any advantage as the Red dropped a 1-0 decision to Penn before being outplayed by Bucknell in a 3-1 loss.

Tomorrow, the Red will look to turn things around when they face the Crimson at Ohiri Field in Cambridge, Mass. Harvard has owned the Red lately, going unbeaten in their last 12 matches (10-0-2), including a convincing 3-0 victory in Ithaca last season. Harvard has outscored Cornell 31-4 in the last 12 matches, and the Red has not won at Ohiri since 1988.

This game, then, could not come at a worse time for the Red. The offense has been struggling having scored just five goals in its last nine games. Cornell needs to start converting on its chances, or this game will end like so much else lately, with disappointment.

The Crimson is coming off a 2-0 win over Vermont. Sophomore Erin Wylie, who leads a dynamic Harvard attack, scored the game winner in the 32nd minute, her third on the season. Harvard added an insurance marker in the 79th minute off a free kick. Freshman Lauren Mann, one of eight freshmen to have started for the Crimson this season, recorded the shutout in the victory, her second of the season.

Youth has certainly been served this season for the Crimson. With a 12-girl freshmen class, Harvard has benefited from the rookies’ contributions. six sophomores, two juniors and just one senior round out the youthful squad. Freshman Katie Varney was named to the Ivy League Honor Roll this past week after scoring her first goal against Rhode Island. Harvard features a balanced attack that may pose trouble for the Red.

Led by junior co-captain Leslie Campbell, the Red defense has been effective. Against Harvard, however, Campbell and her unit will have to play a great game. Freshman keeper Carlyn Swensen has been solid, but she too will have to perfect if Cornell is to pull off the upset.

Senior Caitlin Oliver leads the Red attack. She is supported up front by freshman standout Eva Dixon. Seniors Alison McKeown and Jessica Snyder have been solid midfielders for the Red.