It will be a battle of the young this weekend as the Field Hockey team travels to Columbia looking to earn its first win of the season. Cornell’s team is carrying eleven freshmen on the roster, but Columbia is equally as young boasting six of its own freshmen. With new blood on the field, a game can never be decided until the final whistle is blown.
And what a game it shall be.
Despite the inexperience of some members of the team, the Red holds the upper hand having accumulated a 4-0 record against the Lions and is hoping to increase this record to 5-0. However each of these wins has not come easy as head coach Michelle Tambroni acknowledged. “Every game we have played in the last two years has been [won] 4-3 in overtime.”
In fact Tambroni is expecting a very different team than the Red has faced in the past. “It is not the Columbia that we are used to playing every year. It is definitely a better team. Columbia has done some great recruiting and they had an unbelievable spring season.” In fact, this “new” Columbia team was given the number-one ranking in the most recent Ivy League poll.
This ranking however may prove to be a motivating factor rather than an intimidating factor. “It is definitely going to motivate us,” said senior Catherine Kelly of Columbia’s ranking. However she emphasized the fact that the team will be focusing on playing “its” game.
Focusing and regrouping must be two words running through the minds of the Cornell team. After dropping two games this past weekend, the Red has made some changes and is ready to take the field once more.
The first change deals with the starting lineup. Senior Co-Captain Amy Galebach finds her self back at the sweeper position, and classmate and fellow captain Kate McMahon has moved up to the center midfield position.
However, “the only specific change we have to make is scoring,” Tambroni commented regarding last weekend’s loses.
With only 14 shots taken in two games last weekend, the Red has to increase its offensive output in order to be victorious this weekend. This burst of offensive energy will unfortunately have to come without the help of Junior Ashleigh Snelson who had surgery on her nose after breaking it during practice last week. “It hurts us not having her on the front line,” admitted Tambroni, but the Red will have to overcome this lose in order to defeat the Lions, now 3-0.
Although the offense has gotten off to a slow start, the Red can rely on a sturdy defense in order to battle the Lion’s offense. “Our defense is super solid,” acknowledged senior goalkeeper Maureen Sullivan. Tambroni agreed with Sullivan, commenting, “I’m very pleased with my defense and my goal keeping.”
The Red’s defense will begin by shutting down Argentina native, Florence Battalina, the Lion’s go-to player. She has “great stick work, great skills, loves to run with the ball, loves to create fouls, loves to make things happen,” Tambroni noted.
The Red, however, is prepared for this sophomore standout. The responsibility of shutting Battalina down falls on the shoulders of sophomore Sarah Rosenbaum who will be marking her.
“If we can take her out of the game we can at least take their momentum away and concentrate more on our game,” Tambroni commented.
Despite a strong game plan, the Red will have to play hard and concentrate on finding the back of the cage in order to be victorious. Only time can tell the outcome but it should be interesting as this game proves to be a true battle down in New York City.
Archived article by Kristen Haunss