It isn’t often that a referee’s call becomes the turning point of a game. That was the case Sunday afternoon though, when the field hockey team (4-6, 2-3 Ivy) dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 game to Towson (8-7, 1-3 CAA) after the Tigers scored the game-winning goal when the Red was one player short. The loss was Cornell’s sixth in a row.
After a back and forth game, the ref called a controversial yellow card late in the second half on sophomore back Belen Martinez. Both Martinez and head coach Donna Hornibrook vehemently protested the call, but their objections fell on deaf ears. With 2:19 remaining in the game, Towson took advantage of Martinez’s absence. On a penalty corner, Towson junior Gabby Mink took a pass from senior Kim McEwan that found its way past Cornell sophomore goalie Shannon Prescott for the winning goal.
[img_assist|nid=18952|title=Coming through|desc=Senior Sarah Miller (left) powers up the field during the field hockey team’s 3-2 loss to Towson yesterday.|link=popup|align=left|width=95|height=100]
“[The refs] had not shown a green card earlier … but [the ref] went automatically to the yellow,” Hornibrook said. “We had to play a player down with three minutes left on a call at midfield. That was a very harsh decision, and with [Towson] being in possession of the ball and [us] not being able to call a timeout, it didn’t allow us to regroup. That basically decided the game.”
The game began with Cornell struggling to generate an attack. Halfway through the first half, Towson jumped out to the early lead when McEwan scored her fourth goal of the season by converting a penalty corner.
“We started the game slowly; [Towson] played really well in the first half of the first half,” Hornibrook said. “It took us a while to get adjusted.”
Undeterred by Towson’s early score, the Red responded five minutes later when sophomore midfielder Katlyn Donoghue notched her second goal of the year, scoring unassisted past Towson goalie Christina Armer.
After it seemed like the game was destined to go into halftime tied at one, Towson freshman Angie Brewer scored on a penalty stroke at the end of the first half, which gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead. In the second half, Cornell seemed to find a new energy and began to attack. Sophomore Helena Haas notched an unassisted goal in front of a crowded net to tie the game up at two.
“[The goal] was like a scramble, but it was definitely a group effort,” Haas said.
With momentum on its side, Cornell seemed poised to take the lead. However, despite numerous opportunities, the Red could not convert. In one stretch, Cornell had three consecutive penalty corners but was unable to score.
Despite the loss, the Red will take solace that they were able to score for the first time in three games.
“We prepared for [the game] all week long,” Haas said. “We did a lot of shooting drills and I think we were confident going into the game because we worked on [offense] so much.”
Cornell will hope to snap its six-game losing streak tonight when it travels to Bucknell. The Bisons (5-6, 1-2 Patriot) just snapped a five-game skid of its own when it defeated Colgate on Saturday.
“We have to keep at it,” Hornibrook said. “We have a close team and even though things haven’t gone our way, we are staying positive.”
The Bucknell game becomes our focus. Sometimes things happen that are beyond your control, but those things happen. Tomorrow is a new day.”