Attempting to add to the winning momentum, the Big Red field hockey team (7-5 overall, 3-1 Ivy) travels to Providence, R.I. this Saturday for an important Ivy League match against Brown (6-6 overall, 0-4 Ivy).
Going into this match, both teams are experiencing a slight mid-season slump. The difference may be Cornell’s pivotal win over Lafayette on Wednesday. Tomorrow, two teams will step onto the field on similar ground, but the Big Red enters the match with a slight winning edge. Brown has won only one of its last three games, while the Big Red has secured two wins in its last four games.
Additionally, there may be a revenge factor. The Red hates to remember last year’s seven point loss to Brown, but this year it hopes to change things around.
“I think it’s really important for us to remember what Brown did to us last year. We [left Providence] with our tails between our legs. They really cleaned up on us,” said head coach Michelle Tambroni of last year’s ugly loss to Brown.
Although Brown is the defending Ivy League champion, it is nearing the end of a mediocre season overall and a winless Ivy League record. This fact does not allow the Big Red to take this team for granted because a win-loss record doesn’t say everything. Five of the Bears’ six losses have been one-goal losses. The team is playing very well, but not getting things done when it needs to.
Cornell is looking to shut down the Bears’ offense. The best players on the field for Brown are the offensive players and the Big Red has been focusing on defense in practice in order to be able to shut the Bears down. There will only be a few changes to the lineup because the team’s performance has been steady in the last games. Junior Ashleigh Snelson will start at left midfield, sophomore Annie O’Rourke will be at center forward because of her great performance against Lafayette, senior captain Kate McMahon will return to the sweeper position and senior co-captain Amy Galebach will be back in the center midfield spot.
Of course, the Red will be looking to senior goalkeeper Maureen “Mo” Sullivan to step up her play this weekend and anchor the Red’s defense.
“Mo has had a great year and has really kept us in a lot of games. She has made a lot of stellar saves and she has done a great job. This weekend is incredibly important and she really needs to rise to the occasion,” Tambroni said.
The Big Red is trying to ignore the pressure and any other factors in this game. On Saturday, the squad will be focusing on beating a solid team.
“I think that Brown is going to come out hard regardless of the record. They have nothing to lose, they are the underdog and I’m sure that they’ll be ready to go,” Galebach commented.
“Brown is struggling in the Ivies, but they’re doing very well against their non-league teams. They’re competitive, they’re a fighting team, they’re aggressive and we really need to be ready to go. We are still very confident in our chances at the Ivy League title, but we need to take one game at a time and this one is the most important right now,” Tambroni said.
But it is hard not to think about the future.
The top four Ivy League field hockey teams are still battling for that precious Ivy title. Harvard and Princeton lead the Ancient Eight with perfect 4-0 records, while Cornell and Dartmouth are tied for third place with records of 3-1. Although the Big Red’s blemished record creates a slight disadvantage, the possibility of a league title always exists. Another loss in league play could be detrimental to the team’s chances at first place and the Big Red understands this. The squad sees this game as a potential win and another step closer to the championship.
“We want to add to the amazing offense from the Lafayette game and back it up with defense so we can come out on top on [tomorrow]. The seniors only have a few games left and we want to win all of them and I think that the entire team feels the same way,” Galebach added .
Archived article by Kelli Larsen