Coming off of a pair of victories this past weekend, the Cornell field hockey team is preparing to face off against Ohio University and Rutgers this weekend. Both games will take place in Piscataway, N.J.
Ohio and Rutgers have never faced the women on Cornell’s current team. However, this is not a worry for the Red, according to head coach Donna Hornibrook, who said “college rosters change continuously … they are just another set of opponents.”
The Bobcats emerged victorious from their season opener against Saint Francis, but since then have cooled off, losing three consecutive games to Indiana, UC Davis and Ohio State. Cornell hopes to capitalize on this streak and maintain its own winning one.
The Bobcats are currently ranked 64th in the Division I NCAA standings, whereas Cornell is ranked 19th. However, the women are not letting their leading position go to their heads.
“I think they are a solid team — well organized,” Hornibrook said, “I believe on any given day it all comes down to your performance so for us it is all about playing our game of team-oriented hockey.”
Senior co-captain Sam McILwrick mentioned that “anything can happen in the game of hockey, and standings aren’t always accurate of the game outcome.”
Rutgers’ season is currently tied up with two wins and two loses. The Scarlet Knights came out victorious against VCU and William and Mary but fell short to Bucknell and Virginia.
Rutgers will bring strong competition to Cornell’s defense, according to Hornibrook.
“They have some key kids we are going to have to be aware of,” Hornibrook said. “But we have a confidence in how we play and we try to play a game in which we are aware of the other team’s strengths and tendencies.”
So far this season, Cornell has seen great promise from both freshmen and returning players. The Red will look to rely on its depth to outlast opponents.
Hornibrook said she has confidence in everyone coming off the bench, as demonstrated in Cornell’s most recent game when every player got on the field.
“I have been quite happy,” Hornibrook said. “[The team] did a good job in the preseason and, with a little tweaking, we are further ahead than we were last year.”
Sophomore forward Kate Fitzpatrick “showed a lot of promise as a freshman,” according to Hornibrook. This past weekend, Fitzpatrick continued where she left off last year by scoring three goals.
Junior goalkeeper Kelly Johnson will look to continue her hot start to the season, building off of a strong weekend, in which she shut out both of the Red’s opponents. In the 2015 season, Johnson led the Ivy League in shutouts.
Hornibrook acknowledged the energetic play from junior midfielder Isabel Josephs, who “has come into her own and showed that she is a tireless worker,” according to Hornibrook.
The coach also noted that freshman defender Rose Gorski has been playing well with her senior counterpart, McILwrick.
“Gorski is tough to beat, poised and doing a great job,” Hornibrook said.
Hornibrook is not the only one who has noticed the skill within the freshman class.
“All of our freshmen have been really impressive and came ready to train in preseason,” McILwrick said.
With tougher competition approaching, Hornibrook said the Red is feeling confident.
“We are excited for the challenge,” McILwrick said. The co-captain also noted that she believes the team will maintain its momentum if the women can focus and execute on their game plan.
“There is only one route to success,” Hornibrook said. “We’ll take every game one at a time … using each successful game [as a way to lead] to another opportunity for the next game.”
Cornell takes on Ohio on Friday at 5 p.m. and Rutgers on Sunday at noon.