After a successful opening weekend, the women’s soccer team will look to keep the momentum going tonight against St. Bonaventure (0-2). Cornell (1-0) will face off against the Bonnies in its first home match of the season — the Red’s only match in Ithaca until Sept. 30.
Interim head coach Gretchen Zigante will try and lead her team to a second consecutive victory, and after downing Lafayette 3-2 on Sunday, Zigante is focused squarely on the Bonnies.
“I think that for a lot of these teams, we can’t go by past performances. They have a couple strong forwards, and that could be a handful for us. However, they have a new coach and a new style of play, so we aren’t going to take anything for granted against them,” Zigante said.
After a disappointing 2005 seasons in which St. Bonaventure finished 2-14 with just one in-conference win, the Bonnies have reshaped their program. New head coach Manoj Khettry brings with him eleven new players and a renewed sense of confidence and hard work.
Senior Kerry O’Malley will be the main concern for the Red defense — last season she showed what she is capable of by scoring five goals over the Bonnie’s final five matches. She will be joined up front by junior Jacquee Parmiter, a 2004 Atlantic-10 All-Rookie selection who missed last season due to injury.
The Red, however, counter with a strong defense anchored by its co-captains, senior Mira MacLennan and junior Leslie Campbell. At forward, the Red will look to seniors Alison McKeown and Caitlin Warren, both of whom scored against Lafayette, to generate the offense.
“Allison McKeown has really proven herself as a fine forward. She’ll be quite a player at Cornell,” Zigante said of the transfer from Penn State.
Zigante, who was pleased with the Red’s first performance, noted that she will once again utilize her bench in an important way.
“We managed to possess and get the ball around the net quite often. I thought we were threatening for 90 minutes,” Zigante said, “I’m using these initial games to see who my most competitive team is.”
Zigante means what she says, and she will switch up the keepers for this match. After using senior Katrina Matlin and sophomore Jessica Lebo in the first game, Zigante will turn to sophomore Taylor Hendren and freshman Carlyn Swensen between the pipes.
Zigante knows the Red is capable of playing better, and is encouraged by what she has seen during practice. She expects the Red to improve in a few key areas for tonight’s game.
“We need to work on handling opponent’s corner kicks better. We need to get the ball out better. Overall we were pretty organized, but we will tweak the little things,” Zigante said.