A heartfelt cheer of “Thank you seniors” resonated throughout Berman Field Sunday afternoon, as the Red’s six seniors jogged off the field to meet the rest of their team on the sidelines. Despite the electric atmosphere that Senior Day created, the Red (2-11-1, 0-4-1 Ivy League) was unable to hold off Brown (10-4-1, 3-2-0) after an early goal, falling to the Bears, 2-1.
Though the Red controlled the ball well for the first five minutes of the game, Brown struck first only 7:31 into the game on a goal by junior forward Eliza Marshall, who was able to nudge the ball past the Red’s charging keeper, senior Megan Bartlett. Cornell had opportunities to score in the first half, with the first coming off a shot by junior forward Maneesha Chitanvis, which bent just wide of the left goalpost. In the 30th minute, the Red was called for an offsides after a deflected shot found the net off the leg of junior forward Xandra Hompe.
The Cornell defense was able to hold off the Bears for much of the rest of the first half, but Brown struck again at the 31:54 mark. After clearing a corner kick out of its own box, the Red turned the ball over to Brown’s junior midfielder Diana Ohrt, who added to the Bears’ lead, 2-0. Twenty minutes later, the Red earned a scoring opportunity of its own on a penalty kick by Hompe, but Brown’s keeper made a diving save to keep the two-goal lead intact.
Trailing by two goals, the Red emerged strong in the second half. Senior goalkeeper Kelly Murphy recorded two saves after coming into the game for Bartlett, keeping the Red close. In the 70th minute, Cornell cut the deficit in half with a goal by freshman midfielder Kerry Schubert, off a rebounded shot by Chitanvis.
“We played so much better in the second half, we just need to come out and play the same way in the first half, and try to prevent early goals,” said senior midfielder Abigail Apistolas.
Despite the improved play, the Red was unable to find the equalizer it needed to send the game into overtime.
For the six seniors who were honored alongside their parents at the beginning of the game, Sunday’s match marked the last time that they would play on Berman field. Though the loss was not an ideal end to home-field play, the Red has sustained most of its success in Ithaca this season. Both of the team’s wins this year, as well as a hard fought tie against Ivy League leading Harvard, came at Berman Field.
“Obviously we want to get a win whether we’re home or away, but when we’re on our own field we have more incentive to get that win,” Apistolas said. With 236 fans in attendance, more than doubling the total of the team’s previous home game, Senior Day brought many parents and students to the stands in support of the Red.
With only two games remaining in the season, the Red is still looking for its first league win. The team will play against Princeton (5-9-1) on Saturday at Roberts Stadium. In the last meeting between the two squads in 2010, the Red lost a close one, 2-1, in overtime, after surrendering up a one-goal lead in the first half.
The Tigers, in search of their second league victory, are coming off a loss to Harvard, 2-1, in their latest Ivy contest.
“I think that going in to Princeton we all just really, really want to get that first ivy league win,” Apistolas said. “We want to take the energy we had against Brown into Princeton, change a few things, and then hopefully we’ll get better results.”