After earning an encouraging tie with Ivy League-leading Harvard, the Red looked to carry its momentum into its match at Yale on Saturday. The women’s soccer team fell short, losing 2-1 in overtime to the Bulldogs (7-4-2, 3-1-0 Ivy League). With the defeat, the Red fell to (2-10-1, 0-3-1).
The Red came out sluggishly to start the game, with the Bulldogs out-shooting the Red in the first half, 10-3. Yale took the lead at 21:47 on a well-placed free kick that sailed just inside the far post. The half ended with the score at 1-0 in favor of the Bulldogs.
“We came out slow and just weren’t playing well,” said senior goaltender Megan Bartlett.
Cornell could have improved play during the first half.
“We were slow in stepping up to pressure and responding to the other team,” added head coach Danielle LaRoche.
The Red started the second half strong, tying the game just two minutes in when junior forward Xandra Hompe scored from close range on a feed from sophomore midfielder Rachel Nichols. The game remained tied until the end of regulation, with four big saves from Bartlett keeping the score tied.
However, the overtime period quickly brought disappointment to the Red. Just 7:41 into the extra session, Yale netted its second free-kick goal of the game, sealing the victory. The Red came out strong to start overtime, making the loss even harder to accept.
“We came out great in overtime,” LaRoche said. “They only crossed the 50-yard line twice, and then they scored on that free kick.”
Overall, the loss was particularly frustrating because the Red gave up no goals in regular game play, and there was not much the team could have done to stop either of Yale’s free-kick goals. Both attempts were well-defended, but perfectly placed, according to LaRoche.
“The game was called very tightly, much more tightly than the other games we’ve played,” she said. “The defending on the free kicks was perfect. There was nothing we could have done.”
This loss is not indicative of the team’s progress.
“We played well, and we’ve been playing progressively better as the season has gone on,” Bartlett added. “Unfortunately, a lot of unlucky goals have been scored against us. ”
Still, there are lessons to be learned from the match that could benefit the Red in Sunday’s match against Brown and for the rest of the season. The Red had a weak first half against Yale and has struggled all season with playing well for an entire match. According to Bartlett, the team needs to work on playing at a high level consistently, for a full 90 minutes.
As was the case against the Bulldogs, the Red has also struggled this season with finishing off its opponents after making a late comeback.
“When we tie [the game] we need to put teams away,” LaRoche noted. “We need to have a killer instinct and not let teams linger.”
Sunday’s game against Brown represents an opportunity for Cornell to turn things around, as the Red hosts the Bears on Senior Day at Berman Field with six seniors playing their final games.
“The team is really excited for Senior Day. Everyone will be pumped to win it for the seniors,” LaRoche said.
This weekend marks the end of an era for some of the players.
“I’m excited.” Bartlett said. “These four years have gone by so fast. It’s weird to think I’ll never play at Berman again.”
After the match against the Bears, Cornell closes out the regular season against Dartmouth and Princeton — two teams tied for sixth place in the Ivy League entering this weekend’s action. Despite its winless record in Ancient Eight play, the Red is confident that it can end the season with a win streak against the Green and the Tigers, according to Bartlett.
Going into Sunday’s match, the team is confident and loose.
“We have a short a memory, and it doesn’t serve us to be sad about the last game,” LaRoche explained. “We’re excited and ready to win the next one.”