Cornell field hockey (5-3, 0-1 Ivy) will look to bounce back in Ivy League play this weekend when it takes on Columbia (4-4, 0-1 Ivy) and Monmouth (8-2, 0-0 MAAC) on the road. The Red lost a tightly contested Ivy opener against Penn (6-2, 1-0 Ivy), so it is critical that the team avoids an 0-2 Ivy start in a tightly contested conference.
Even though the team has high expectations this season and hopes to contend for an Ivy title, the Red take things game by game. The team prides itself on a consistent approach each week and does not get caught up on the significance of any one game.
“It’s next opponent up,” said head Coach Donna Hornibrook. “You have to be consistent week in and week out, regardless of who the opponent is.”
The Ivy League does not have a playoff format, so each team plays each other once and the champion is decided by in-conference record. Cornell will have six more games to establish itself as one of the best teams in the conference.
“It’s a round robin tournament,” Hornibrook said. “The team that is most consistent throughout the course of the Ivy League season will be the team that comes out on top.”
One area that has been a consistent strength for the Red all season long has been its defense, and more specifically goaltending. Opponents are averaging just one goal per game against the Red this year. If this trend continues, Cornell will be able to ride on its defense throughout the Ivy League schedule.
Junior goalkeeper Kelly Johnson has an .800 save percentage this season for the Red. Johnson credited her talented teammates for her success because of how they push her in practice.
“We have great shooters on the team,” Johnson said. “They’re constantly challenging me and forcing me to get better.”
One of the benefits of having such a talented defensive group is that it keeps Cornell in every game. Cornell’s three losses on the season have come by a combined four goals.
Nonetheless, an area of improvement for the Red is the offense. The Red has shown flashes of offensive brilliance at times this season, but the team has not been as consistent when it comes to putting the ball in the net. Cornell averages between two and three goals a game.
The team has no shortage of capable goal scorers, with junior forwards Katie Carlson and Krysten Mayers combining for an explosive offensive tandem. The duo has eight goals and five assists between them.
If the Red can continue to make offensive improvements, the team is more than capable of contending for an Ivy League title.
“There are always things to improve upon, but we know we can score, we know that we can defend well, and we know that we can be a threat for as long as we have to play” Johnson said.