Cornell Field Hockey (0-0, 0-0 Ivy) will open its season at home on Saturday against a familiar foe in Colgate (1-1, 0-0 Patriot League). Even though Colgate is coming off a winless season, the Red knows it will be facing a tough and talented team each time it squares off with the Raiders.
The rivalry between Cornell and Colgate is as strong as ever because of the frequency of competition between the two schools.
“Due to the geographic proximity, we play them in pretty much every sport,” said head coach Donna Hornibrook. “They’re always ready to play.”
Colgate already has a few games under its belt heading into play this weekend. The Raiders were outscored seven to one in their first two matchups, but one goal was enough for a hard fought shutout victory against Bryant (0-2, 0-0 MAAC).
“Typically Colgate is a gritty team,” Hornibrook said. “They’ve had a weekend to get a couple matches in.”
However, Cornell is mainly focused on handling its own matters.
“We aren’t really focused on who the opponent is,” Hornibrook said. “We want to take care of our business and respect the opponent that we have on any given day.”
With the midst of preparation for the start of the season in full swing, Cornell is doing whatever it takes to get better as a team.
“We’ve had a couple of scrimmages that have been helpful,” Hornibrook said. “We are trying to focus on the development of our own play.”
Cornell looked strong in the preseason, which included a seven to one victory over Siena (0-1, 0-0 MAAC) in a scrimmage. Nonetheless, the Red is still in the process of establishing its identity.
“We are trying to build a style of play,” Hornibook said. “We want to establish ourselves in terms of what we want to do on attack, defense, and special teams situations.”
Cornell’s lineup features many returning and talented players. But freshman will be expected to contribute significantly this season. The adjustment from high school to the college game will be a big challenge and developing confidence will be integral to the success of the younger players on the team.
“We want to approach each game with the same confidence and composure,” said senior midfielder Katy Weeks.
The upperclassmen will undoubtedly play a major role in acclimating younger players to the requirements and expectations of Cornell Field Hockey.
Once players get a sense of what level their commitment needs to be at, the more confidence they will have in approaching their development. Nonetheless, in-game confidence is something that can only develop from consistent play in regular season games.
“Confidence comes from being able to go into a game and execute what it is you want to do as effectively as you can,” Hornibrook said.
The Red will look to establish some of this confidence against Colgate on Saturday. Cornell is a more talented squad and is playing at home. The team is in a good situation to secure a victory and get off on the right foot.
After all, Cornell is coming off a very successful season while Colgate struggled mightily last year.
Nonetheless, none of the Cornell players will take anything for granted, and they expect Colgate to bring it this weekend.
The Red will take on the Raiders at noon on Saturday on Dodson Field.