October 14, 2012

F. HOCKEY | Standiford, Balleza Contribute to 4-0 Shutout Over Crimson

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The field hockey team was on a four game winning streak heading into its Saturday contest with Harvard and looked to extend it to five. The Red proved victorious in convincing fashion, beating the Crimson (3-9, 1-3 Ivy League), 4-0. With the win, Cornell improved to a record of 3-1 in Ivy League play and 6-6 overall, and it moved up to second place in the Ivy League standings.

“We’re definitely excited to have won this game,” said junior forward Hannah Balleza. “We have gone back and forth in previous years. Two years ago we won a close game and last year we lost, so we kind of figured it would be a pretty tight game, which in the end it wasn’t, but it was a great win and we’re in a great position now going forward.”

The Red took a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute of play on a goal by freshman midfielder Taylor Standiford. This was her first of two goals on the day. According to junior midfielder Mallory Bannon, scoring first gave the Red momentum and set the team on track for maintaining a competitive edge throughout the rest of the game.

“It was really important to take the early lead, not that you can take anything for granted, but getting that first one gave us momentum for the rest of the game,” she said. “Once you get one you know its possible to get more, so it kind of opens up the door for you.

Standiford also netted the Red’s fourth goal of the game in the second half. According to Bannon, it was encouraging to see goals being scored from the midfield position and to get significant production from a freshman.

“Taylor executed what we had planned in practice very well,” she said. “It’s great to have a lot of different people scoring, to get contributions from everyone and to see freshmen stepping up.”

The Red maintained the 1-0 advantage until midway through the second half, when Balleza scored two goals just 10 minutes apart. According to Balleza, it was important for the Red to build a safe lead in order to finish off the victory.

“We’ve learned in the past, especially against Rutgers when we blew a 3-1 lead, that no lead can ever be too safe,” she said. “It was great to make it 2-0, but that doesn’t seal the deal, but once it got to 3-0, that took the pressure off and we could play a little more conservatively and calmly.”

The Red allowed only 5 shots on goal in route to the shutout victory. According to Bannon, effective ball movement from the defense up the field allowed the Red to minimize the Crimson’s chances.

“It was a very strong defensive effort. During practice last week we really talked about connecting passes and taking advantage of the spaces in Harvard’s defense. From the backfield going upward, we were able to utilize the gaps they had to connect with different players, which was helpful in the keeping the ball out of our end.”

The Red hosts Davidson tomorrow in an out of conference matchup. According to Bannon, the Red will look to win tomorrow’s contest and thereby maintain its positive momentum for the rest of the Ivy League schedule.

“We’re hoping to keep the momentum that we’ve gained from the win against Harvard, and to solidify what we do well as a team, in order to be ready for our next Ivy League game against Brown next weekend.”

Original Author: Ben Horowitz

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