The Cornell field hockey team (5-2, 3-0 Ivy) earned its place in the Big Red record books as well as a share of first place in the Ivy League this Saturday with a victory over Yale (0-8, 0-2 Ivy) — and did so without senior co-captain Kate McMahon, who was absent for personal reasons.
Early in the second half, with the Red ahead 1-0, senior Catherine ‘Cat’ Kelly fired a shot into the back of the cage from right inside the circle. The goal gave Cornell all the offense it would need to hold off the Bulldogs, as the Red walked off the field at the end with a 2-1 win.
Cornell is now tied with Princeton for the top spot in the Ivies, half a game ahead of Harvard. Both the Tigers and Crimson were idle this weekend in Ivy play.
By winning their first three Ivy matches, the Red field hockey squad has done something past Cornell teams could not achieve. It also has now won five straight games, tying a team best set in 1988.
Kelly, normally a center back, was moved up to center midfield to fill the hole left by McMahon’s absence and was well up to the task. Kelly hadn’t played midfield since high school, but still managed to come up with the game-winner.
“I just shot it as hard as I could. It was awesome, pretty exciting,” Kelly said.
“Cat did a really great job of setting up and playing center mid,” freshman Karleigh Burns added. “Even though we had to shift around and play a little differently, we got the job done.”
Before the game, senior goalkeeper Maureen Sullivan read a note from McMahon to the team.
“It helped set the tone and fire us up a little bit,” Kelly commented.
Whatever McMahon wrote worked. The Red came out strong in the first half, with junior Ashleigh Snelson capitalizing on a rebound from a corner. Sophomore Anna Starkey picked up the assist on the goal, extending her personal point streak to five games as well.
Taking advantage of penalty corners was something the Red has worked on recently in practice, and head coach Michelle Tambroni was glad to see the effort pay off on the scoresheet.
“I think the first half, we played very well, some of the goals were very nice,” Tambroni said. “Yale came out really hard in the second half. They had some great players, but they couldn’t execute passes, and we capitalized on that.”
Sullivan played a stellar game in the cage, making seven saves, six of which came in the second half. Christine Anthony was the only Eli to find the net, scoring off of a stolen pass in the second half.
“Sullivan had a great game, she made some key saves for us, we kind of fed off that,” Tambroni noted.
The team’s spirits are high after matching the school record for consecutive wins.
“Being a senior and working with this program for four years and getting to this point, it’s incredible. We’re coming together as a team, and that’s what’s so great about it,” Kelly stated. “It’s also incredible to be tied for first in the Ivy League.”
“We’re definitely learning from the games we’re playing. Every time we walk off the field I think we’ve learned a lesson, and the nice part is, we’re winning and learning instead of losing and learning. It’s a nice feeling for all of us,” said Tambroni.
The Red will try to continue its winning ways at home on Wednesday night in a non-league game against rival Syracuse.
Archived article by Alex Fineman