Two improbable goals by Yale (6-3-1, 1-1 Ivy) overshadowed a fantastic performance by Cornell senior goalie Megan Cauzillo in yet another agonizing 2-1 loss for the Red (1-6, 1-2).
An aggressive and confident Cauzillo came out of the net readily, and made remarkable point-blank saves to preserve the 1-0 lead into half-time.
But just 13 minutes after the breaK, Yale junior midfielder Britt Payne took advantage of a little open space and scored the equalizer. After running the ball down the right sideline, Payne drifted a shot that bounced off the top post and passed a shocked Cauzillo. Even though the ball never hit the net, it nudged past the line for a goal.
Bulldog sophomore striker Chandra King, coming off a hat-trick performance against Army, continued her torrid streak by feeding junior midfielder Sara Ruiz for the game-winner at 73:10. The unmarked Ruiz received the pass while floating just outside of the box, then dribbled by the penalty spot and fired into heavy traffic. The shot ricocheted off Cornell rookie defender Karne Hukee and right over the fingertips of a leaping Cauzillo, before finally finding the net.
“Meghan played awesome,” freshman forward Sarah Knight said. “The [Yale] girls had good chances, and she just came out and stopped them.”
The Red originally found the go-ahead when midfielder Darra Messing converted a free kick from 19 yards out 38:08 into the game. The freshman scored her first collegiate goal in magnificent fashion, curling a perfect ball over the five-member Bulldog wall and into the left-upper corner of the net.
“That was one of the most beautiful shots I’ve ever seen in my life,” Knight said.
“She stayed really composed, and she placed it perfectly,” senior defender Sarah Natchez added.
It was Knight’s extraordinary play, however, that sparked the Red and gave it that scoring opportunity. All throughout the afternoon Knight had waltzed past defenders for plenty of good looks at the goal. But Yale took no chances this time, as senior captain Jennifer Mendoza immediately tackled Knight just before she could enter the penalty area.
“The ball got free, and I just started to chase it,” as Knight explained. “[Mendoza] was coming from the side, and she just bumped me off the ball.”
Although the Red capitalized on this penalty, in most cases Yale received no punishment for its rough and physical play.
Alicia Doolittle, the Red’s other freshman forward, also ran through the Bulldogs defense but could not convert. At 24:10 in the first half, Doolittle slid past a couple defenders to receive a lob from Knight with only the goalie to beat. As she approached the penalty spot, however, a Yale defender clipped her from the back while going for the ball. No call was made by the officials, a sure sign of the level of physicality of the Ivy contest.
“He didn’t call it, but she was definitely got taken down,” Knight explained. “It’s tough luck, that’s what our whole seasons been.”
The team’s freshman corps has been rapidly improving with every game, and could pull the Red out of its five-game losing streak soon.
“They really stepped up their level of their play,” Natchez commented. “It’s great to see them come out and play like they’re not their age.”
The Red can turn its play into points this weekend when it leaves for the Harvard Invitational.
“We’re going to come out strong, and we have the ability,” sophomore Stephanie Setyadi said. “We’re going to have to communicate a lot, and believe in ourselves.”
Archived article by Simon Chan