A new season brings hope, optimism, and thankfully, a clean slate. After a disappointing 3-14 record last season, the Cornell women’s soccer team starts anew, and has an opportunity to begin the season on a bright note. On Sunday, the team kicks off its 2001 campaign in Easton, Pa. against Lafayette College.
The Red has not played Lafayette since a match in November 1999, a game that Cornell won 3-2. In that particular contest, the Red fell into an early 2-0 deficit but came back to win in the closing moments. Of course, the makeup of both squads is drastically different from two years ago.
On paper, the Leopards look like world-beaters, having won their first three games of the year. They are led by the terrific, interchangeable tandem of sophomore Melissa Mullins and junior Ashley Wesmiller in goal. Combined, the two women have allowed just two goals in three games, including a 1-0 shutout victory against Wagner College on Wednesday.
If the Red hopes to win, it must find a way to contain Lafayette’s Emily Myers. So far, no team has done so. After finishing 20th in the nation in goals per-game last season, the junior striker has already tallied four goals in this young season.
Myers is by no means the only threat. In its previous game, the Leopards constantly pressured the defense, outshooting Wagner College 30-4.
With Sunday being Cornell’s season opener, the booters will undoubtedly feel some first-game jitters.
“Hopefully, we won’t have any nervousness,” coach Berhane Andeberhan noted. “We had some jitters in the [intrasquad] scrimmage last Sunday though.”
Lafayette also has a decided edge in terms of game experience and team chemistry.
Andeberhan pointed to set-plays as a focal point.
“They’ll definitely be better in the restart situations, and would have had time to make the necessary adjustments. They’ll have the advantage in the early part of the game.”
After an intense summer of training and conditioning, Andeberhan believes that his squad can compete with the best, starting with this upcoming match.
“We’re a rebuilding team, but our players have great fitness. We [just] need to play a nice possession game, and increase our scoring chances.”
If the Red can limit Myers’ touches, while creating some scoring opportunities of its own, the team should stand a great chance of winning the contest.
Archived article by Alex Ip