For the second year in a row, the women’s soccer team kicked their season off against in-state opponent Siena College. While last year’s opener ended in a draw, this year’s saw Cornell get the better of the Saint Bernards in a 1-0 win.
Junior forward Paige DeLoach had the team’s lone goal in the fifth minute which was all that was necessary to secure the win. The Red’s defense, and especially senior goalkeeper Kelsey Tierney, was able to hold off the Saints for the game’s last 85 minutes.
“Overall, I think the team played very well through the heat and tough conditions,” DeLoach said.
The Red fired eight shots, three on goal, and Tierney made four saves of her own to help the Red start the season on a positive note.
“We came out with great competitive spirit and energy which is very influential in setting the tone for the season,” said junior forward Tess Pullano. “We moved the ball around well and created some great chances.”
Despite the win, both DeLoach and Pullano stressed that maintaining a high energy throughout the game is something the team can improve upon.
“During the second half our level of play and possession dropped a lot, which I think boiled down to us not having a lot of game fitness and experience playing together,” DeLoach said. “As the season goes on and as we get more used to playing with each other, we should be able to keep our level of play up through the second half.”
“We just need to keep working on our competitiveness and toughness in front of the net so we are able to finish more of the chances we create,” Pullano added. “This will definitely be a goal moving forward.”
Three of the Red’s 11 starters were freshmen, and freshman midfielder Juliana Comer picked up her first collegiate assist in the win. The three freshman starters are part of the eight new additions to the roster announced at the beginning of the season.
“Our freshmen are really cool and seem to be adjusting well to the team and to school,” DeLoach said. “We did a lot of team bonding during preseason, and we spend time together everyday to strengthen the bonds we have to create a stronger team.”
Acclimating the freshmen to college soccer and college life in general isnot always up to them, according to the seasoned veterans.
“As a junior, I really try and talk to the freshmen as much as possible on and off the field, both about soccer and life in general because I know that when I was a freshman it meant a lot when the upperclassmen reached out to me,” Pullano said. “Knowing people on campus as a freshman always makes you feel so much more comfortable.”
Comer — who played in first collegiate game ever Sunday — looked and acted like she had been on the college field for years
“I think we did a good job of keeping our shape on defense and staying compact in the middle,” she said. “We did a good job of supporting each other’s passes and moving around to get into space to get the ball.”
Hoping to carry their momentum forward, the Red still has six more games to get ready Ivy League play, which begins on September 23 at Columbia.
“At this point in the season we have a couple of tough non-conference games coming up, so I think we’re really going to try and use those to prepare for the Ivy games,” DeLoach added.
The team would like to use this stretch of games to prepare for Ivy foes, and in the end, hopes it prepares them for a long run in the postseason.
“We know that we can be competitive in every game, and I think that one of our overall team goals is to finish with a better record in our Ivy League season and to better our Ivy League ranking,” Pullano said.