The Cornell field hockey team is gearing up for its second to last game of the season against Princeton this coming Saturday.
The Red is currently ranked fourth in the Ivy League conference and 34th overall, according to the NCAA Division I standings. The Tigers are ranked second in the league and 12th nationally
“Traditionally they have been a strong team in the conference and are a quality team overall,” said head coach Donna Hornibrook.
Despite its high standing, Princeton is coming off of a 3-2 loss against Harvard and the Cornell women are hoping to take full advantage of every opportunity they are given to come out victorious, according to Hornibrook.
“We are excited about the game and excited to play Princeton,” Hornibrook said. “We want to play well.”
Throughout the season, Cornell has dealt with a lot of adversity, which was sometimes reflected in the level of play the women brought to the field.
“We have had kids who have been out and not available throughout the season,” Hornibrook said. “So we prepare every week the same way, by putting our best line up on the field and focusing on the aspects that let us down in the previous week during practice to give us a leg up.”
The Red will focus on continuing to improve on its offensive and defensive corners, in addition to maintaining its ball control, according to Hornibrook. By doing this, the Red is able to mature as a team and cement the squad’s skills for its upcoming games.
“We have shown quality at times and let ourselves down at others,” Hornibrook said. “We are continuing to focus on taking advantage of critical moments in the match.”
For Hornibrook, overall consistency is going to be a key factor in finishing the season on a high note.
“We have had some good moments and inconsistent moments,” Hornibrook said. “We are trying to finish strong and level that out.”
One skill the Tigers have harnessed this season is their attack. Princeton averages 18.2 shots per game with a shots-on-goal percentage of 63.4 percent. The Red has averages 13.1 shots on goal this season with a shots-on-goal percentage of 55.1 percent.
“Everyone knows they have been a solid attacking team this season,” Hornibrook said. “We are going to focus on playing good team defense to combat this.”
The women have thrived in maintaining consistency in their backfield throughout this season, especially in their last two games against Rider and Brown, both wins.
“We held the opposition to seven penalty corners over a three-game period,” Hornibrook said, “so we are continuing to work on our tackling and positioning as a defensive team, and taking care of the ball which puts additional pressure on the opposing team.”
The Red will continue to focus on its mental and physical preparation for the final two games of the season for the remainder of the week, with the nationally ranked Tigers looming, the women are ready to go, according to Hornibrook.
“We are going to finish the season strong,” Hornibrook said. “The girls are excited and looking forward to the challenge.”
The Red will take on Princeton in Ithaca on Saturday at noon.