The Red hopes to turn things around for the season this weekend as it starts its Ivy schedule at Columbia on Friday and then follows up on Sunday in a non-league game against Niagara at home. Cornell is determined to get its first victory of the season and turn things around, but it will be a challenge for the team coming off of last weekend with a pair of losses. The losses came from the home opener against Sacred Heart where the Red was defeated, 2-1 and the second from a shutout for LaSalle, 4-0.
“Although we were frustrated with last weekend, there has been a lot of focus on starting off the Ivy League season strong,” said junior goalkeeper Tori Christ. “There is a totally different atmosphere when it comes to these games so I think we are just trying to stay focused and come out and play a strong 90 minutes.”
Sophomore midfielder Claire MacManus scored the goal for the Red in the game on Friday against the Pioneers, after grabbing a header from senior Xandra Hompe’s corner kick — the only goal that the Red grabbed all weekend. It is also notable that Christ has started all seven of the games for the Red in goal and has been a crucial part to the Cornell defense.
This weekend is going to be a tough one for the Red especially against Ivy foe Columbia. Cornell has not won a matchup against the Lions since Sept. 23, 2005. This season, Columbia has won three of its last four games bringing its record to 3-3 for the season thus far — including a win against Sacred Heart, 2-0, who the Red lost to last weekend. Early in the season, however, Columbia lost to both GW and Georgetown in the D.C. Invitational — which Cornell did as well.
“Columbia is always very physical and good in the air,” Christ said. “They have some tall girls so for us it is going to be a matter of matching their physicality, winning balls in the air and possessing on the ground, so we have been working on those things at training.”
Sunday’s showdown should be interesting as well against Niagara at home. The Purple Eagles are also coming off of a bit of a winning streak thanks to a pair of victories, 2-0 against St. Francis and Robert Morris in the NU Fall Classic. However, last season one of the two wins that the Red took was against Niagara in a 2-0 shutout where senior forward Maneesha Chitanvis scored on a throw-in assist from junior Rachel Nichols.
“We still want to be above .500 and a great thing about the Ivy League is that when the league starts it is a clean slate and everyone is competing for a championship every year. The games are tight and if we play a strong 90 minutes, focus on the small details, and bring an intensity to training and games, we can get results and compete for that championship,” Christ said.