By KEITH BOLLT
They were the last team in the country to lose.
Cornell women’s soccer (8-1-4, 1-1-1 Ivy) suffered its first loss of the season on Saturday, falling 2-0 to the Harvard Crimson (6-6-1, 3-0-0 Ivy) at Berman Field. In nonconference action on Monday, the Red played the Colgate Raiders (4-7-2, 2-2-1 Patriot) to a 0-0 draw at home.
According to senior co-captain defender Charlotte Tate, the Red played apprehensively in the first half against the defending Ivy League champion Crimson.
“Against Harvard, we did not come out as strong as we wanted to in the beginning,” Tate said. “We lacked the aggressive attitude that we needed to win the game and we let up two goals.”
Head coach Patrick Farmer agreed with Tate, saying that tentative soccer was the difference in the final score. He also praised Harvard play.
“I thought we played more tentatively in the first half than we have so far this season,” Farmer said. “We allowed Harvard to establish themselves and have confidence in their possession. … Overall I do think that Harvard was better on the day than we were and deserving of the victory.”
Despite being down by two goals, the Red had a much stronger second half, according to Tate.
“The second half we were able to shift our focus and control more of the game, but weren’t able to make a comeback,” she said.
The Red had 48 hours to reset and prepare for regional rival Colgate. For Farmer, it was important to focus on both soccer technique and the mental aspect of losing for the first time all year.
“We talked about our mindset and what was needed to build on the stronger second half that we had against Harvard,” Farmer said. “[We] also [talked about] the necessity to possess the ball in the attacking half of the field, and the need to shoot at earlier opportunities.”
Cornell was ready for the Raiders. The Red was not able to score in 110 minutes of soccer, but Farmer pointed out that the Red had more shots and more scoring opportunities than their opponent.
“We had a couple of excellent chances, and one goal that was called back from a very close/arguable offside call,” Farmer said. “Colgate had a good sequence from a corner kick that we saved off the line and then they hit the rebound against the crossbar. I felt we had done enough to win the match, but not dominate the match.”
On Monday, the Red did not allow a goal for the 11th time in 13 games. They were also shut out for the third game in a row and fifth time overall. Farmer discussed his team’s defense and offense in turn.
“We did an excellent job of containing their several speedy forwards and picking up runners coming through,” he said. “We also did an excellent job of getting in to block potential shots and crosses— our goalkeeper did not register a save for the game.”
“We again had chances but not clear shooting opportunities,” Farmer said. “Most of our quality chances are coming on crosses and penetrating passes and were cut out by defenders and their goalkeeper who played a good match.”
After an up and down weekend, Tate said playing well against Colgate is a testament to the Red’s resolve.
“We … knew how we responded to our first loss would be important for the rest of the season,” Tate said. “Fortunately, we were able to move past it and put up a shutout against Colgate. A win [against Harvard] would have been ideal, but we kept a strong competitive mentality.”