The Cornell field hockey team (5-3, 3-0 Ivy) begins a crucial three-game road trip tomorrow as it travels to Boston to take on the Harvard Crimson (5-3, 2-0 Ivy).
The winner of the contest will earn a spot atop the Ivy League standings. The Red already sits in first, tied with Princeton. Harvard lurks only half a game back though, and with a win over Cornell it will displace the Red as the Tigers’ equal. On the other hand, a Cornell win means sole possession of the top position.
The Red has already established itself as a contender for the Ivy crown with its 3-0 start, the best Ivy opening in school history. However, Harvard presents the biggest challenge of any Ancient Eight opponent yet.
“I think they’ve got a very solid team, very aggressive team, great forwards, great backs, they’re just all-around a very tough team,” head coach Michelle Tambroni said.
The Crimson’s top scorers, Philomena Gambale and Katie McDavitt, will keep the Cornell defense’s hands full throughout the game. Red senior co-captain Kate McMahon will be specifically assigned to mark McDavitt, with classmate Catherine Kelly moving up to fill her center midfield spot.
In addition to shooting for the top spot in the league, Harvard will be out to avenge last year’s loss to the Red. Last year the Crimson, then ranked 18th in the country, came to Ithaca and left with a 1-0 defeat which knocked it out of the polls.
“If we can maintain composure better than we did [in Wednesday’s 4-0 loss to Syracuse], then we’ll be fine against Harvard,” Tambroni commented.
After the Crimson game, Cornell will travel to the West Coast for its first California trip since 1991. There it will take on Cal-Berkeley and Stanford in a pair of non-league contests.
Cornell is a little unfamiliar with the play of these two schools, but the Red knows that they are both strong teams.
“They are both short passing teams. That works in our favor,” Tambroni noted. “They are not big ball teams. They play with a lot of stick work, a lot of finesse. So we need to be ready to go.”
While out West, the team has some activities planned in addition to the game as a change of pace from its typical fall break. Normally, the squad stays on campus during the vacation. However, Tambroni doesn’t want her troops to lose sight of the team’s goal.
“It’s going to be a fun trip,” she said, “but we also want to come back 2-0 from our trip to California.”
Archived article by Alex Fineman