In the 53rd minute of a scoreless match up, the Cornell field hockey team (3-1, 0-0 Ivy) was looking for a goal. Then Cornell’s playmaker, junior forward Krysten Mayers, stepped up for the Red and guided a pass towards junior forward Katie Carlson, who rifled a shot into the back of the net.
The Red struck again in the second half against Ohio University (2-5, 0-0 Mid-America), on a goal from junior midfielder Isabel Josephs. In a defensive battle, the two goals were enough for a 2-1 victory, allowing the Red to claim its third win of the season.
Neither team could break through in the first half, with both squads playing solid defense. After halftime, the Red put together a consistent offensive attack that allowed the Red to break the game open.
“The second half of the Ohio game we had a really solid stretch,” said head coach Donna Hornibrook.
However, in the second match-up of the weekend for the Red, goals from Carlson and junior back Sam McIlwrick were ultimately not enough in a 4-2 loss at Rutgers (4-2, 0-0 Big Ten).
Cornell trailed by three goals early on, but the Red fought back and cut the lead to one. The Red had a couple of chances to equalize, but a late penalty corner gave Rutgers a two-goal cushion, putting the game out of reach for Cornell.
Even while the Red failed to deliver a complete performance, Hornibrook said she was pleased with her team’s resiliency.
“We showed that we have the ability to battle back,” Hornibrook said.
Nonetheless, Cornell’s play was up and down over the weekend and the team will be looking to put together more complete performances before heading into Ivy League play.
“We had some moments where we played well in both games,” Hornibrook said. “But I thought we were inconsistent.”
The offense will need to develop more consistency, as the team cannot expect to routinely win by only scoring two goals, according to Hornibrook. However, the coach stressed that the team needs to play better up and down the line up.
“[We are working on] going out tomorrow and trying to be more consistent in all phases,” Hornibrook said. “We’ve shown that we can score goals … we’ve shown that we can be really tough defensively … but we need to develop better connection between the units.”
Hornibrook emphasized the need to put together a quality 70 minutes of play but also noted that it is still early in the season.
“Consistency is a mindset,” Hornibrook said. “But it is also [about] time together, and that’s something that all teams are going through right now, because it does take time to gel.”
Cornell does not have many easy matchups on its out-of-conference schedule. Exposure to talented teams from other areas will help the Red long term. Win or lose, the Red wants to execute its game plan and achieve a certain fluidity in its play, so that the team is firing on all cylinders when Ivy League play rolls around.
“That’s why these early season games are very important and why we want to play quality teams like Stanford,” Hornibrook said.
Cornell will face No. 14 Stanford at home on Sept. 13 in its next match up.
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