Coming off an encouraging win against Penn in its first game of conference play, the field hockey team was hoping to establish winning consistency this past weekend in contests against Columbia and Rutgers. However, the Red fell short in both contests — losing to Columbia, 2-1, and falling to Rutgers the following day, 4-3. The losses left the team with a feeling of disappointment and an awareness that the two losses were missed opportunities.
“We were really hoping to win both of these games, so the way it turned out was really disappointing,” said junior forward Hannah Balleza.
The Red found itself playing from behind for most of the match with the Lions, after Columbia took advantage of two Cornell penalties to jump out to a 2-0 first-half lead. According to senior back Paige Mollineaux, the deficit made winning the game more difficult, the Red failed to take advantage of the opportunities it had to tie the game.
“It was hard playing from behind,” she said. “Those two goals really hurt us. Then we came back and got a goal, but we couldn’t capitalize on our opportunities at the end of the game.”
Against the Scarlet Knights the following day, the Red came out strong — ending the first half with a 3-1 lead. However, Rutgers tied the game with two quick goals in the span of two minutes early in the second half. The game went to overtime, and Rutgers netted the game-winner. This game was particularly frustrating for the Red, despite it being a non-conference game, according to Mollineaux.
“Although it wasn’t a conference game, it was disappointing especially because we came out and played the best first half that we’ve played so far this season,” she explained.
According to Mollineaux, the team failed to maintain its aggressive play in the second half, which allowed the Scarlet Knights to erase Cornell’s first half lead and ultimately win. They took control of the game’s momentum when they got one goal, and carried that momentum through the rest of the game.
“We were up two goals, but our mentality changed in the second half,” she said. We weren’t playing as aggressive as we were in the first half. We kind of sat back, and played a very defensive game, and they were able to score. When they scored one goal, it gave them momentum which helped them score again. ”
Moving forward, the Red will look to improve its play before upcoming matches against Yale and Sienna. While there are multiple areas it needs to improve on, the Red will especially focus on consistently maintaining control of the ball, according to Mollineaux.
“We need to work on our possession of the ball,” she said. “We definitely need to be stronger on the ball but we also need to be smarter with the passing, and stronger with receiving- making sure that the person who the pass is intended for steps up and takes that pass. We gave the ball away too many times this past weekend, and you can’t win a game if you don’t have possession of the ball.”
According to Balleza, the team needs to focus on its overall consistency.
“We have hot and cold moments throughout the game,” she said. “Sometimes we’re really playing well together, then we’re not playing well at all, and we kind of go back and forth. We need to have better consistency,” she explained.
According to Mollineaux, the team is motivated to win its next couple of games, especially in its next game against Yale.
“We can learn from our previous games, but we can’t dwell on the past,” she said. “We are a much better team than the past two games showed, so we are motivated to move forward and beat Yale in our next game.”