In its second game on the road this weekend, the Red fell to Albany, 5-2, despite senior midfielder Xandra Hompe’s first two-goal game of her Cornell career.
The Red held the Great Danes scoreless for most of the first half and controlled the ball offensively, taking eight shots compared to Albany’s five. However, just before the 40 minute mark, the Great Danes broke the game open with a goal off a breakaway past the last Red defender.
Down by only one goal going into the second period, the Red was unable to find an equalizer before Albany struck again on a free kick by Despina Psomopolous. In the 67th minute a header by Albany forward Maggie DeVerna found the back of the net, and the Red suddenly found itself trailing, 3-0.
Hompe helped to bring the squad back into striking distance with a goal in the 68th minute off an assist by senior forward Maneesha Chitanvis. For Chitanvis — last year’s team leader in scoring — it was her first point of the 2012 season, a good sign for the Red’s offense as the season progresses.
“I think for us to have a dynamic attack, it will fall to [Chitanvis] to be the prime mover there,” said head coach Patrick Farmer. “She’s a person that can cover some ground and do a number of different tasks, she can keep the ball at her feet, she can hit the ball through and she can get through herself, so she’ll be a big focus of what we’re doing.”
“[Sunday] night [Hompe and Chitanvis] were both playing really well and playing off each other,” junior midfielder Rachel Nichols said. “The more we all get used to each other as the season goes on, the better off we’ll be.”
Just two minutes after Hompe’s first goal, the Great Danes bounced back with their fourth goal of the game. Although Hompe scored again late in the second period to make the score 4-2, another goal by Albany forward Chelsea DeVerna put the game virtually out of reach for Cornell.
Sunday’s loss marks the second year in a row the Red has lost its first four games to out of league competition. It is also the second game this season that the squad has outshot its opponent and failed to come away with a win.
“I guess it comes down to when we get the ball on the 18 we have to work on finishing all the opportunities we get,” Nichols said.
Defensively, the Red has allowed 17 goals in four games, in large part due to a defensive line that is still learning to play together after losing a starting defender in Sidra Bonner ’12 last year.
“We have to get used to transitioning from offense to defense faster,” Nichols said. “One of their goals was just a quick touch over the defense because we didn’t transition fast enough.”
The Red is also becoming accustomed to a new goalkeeper in the net — Tori Christ — who has already made 20 saves this season.
“Goalkeeper is going to be the newest thing,” Farmer said. “We have two freshman and Tori is a junior but previous to [this season] had only played for ten minutes, so we just don’t have a lot of experience there.”
Christ has held her own in the net, though, having played every minute prior to the game on Sunday night when she was relieved by freshman Caroline Quentin.
Cornell remains on the road this week with a trip to Binghamton on Wednesday.
“We’ll come out strong and physical trying to get that first win,” Nichols said of the squad’s next matchup. “So far we have been outplaying our opponents and not coming away with the results.”
Original Author: Scott Chiusano