Throughout this past spring and summer, the Cornell women’s soccer team has stressed the importance of a improving its defense. After two games, the back has looked steady, allowing just one goal thus far. However, the Red will be put to the test when it opens its Ivy season tomorrow afternoon against the dynamic Yale Bulldogs.
Yale enters the game having steamrolled its first three opponents, including a 4-3 victory over Central Connecticut State two days ago. It also includes a 5-0 drubbing of Sacred Heart and a 3-1 pounding of Ohio University.
The Bulldog offensive attack is led by junior striker Chandra King. As a sophomore last season, King led the Ivy League in scoring with 26 points, and was selected to the All-Ivy First Team. So far this year, she has already collected 2 goals and an assist. King is by no means the only threat on the Yale squad. Junior midfielder Ali Cobbett, who was an Ivy-honorable mention last year, is the leading Bulldog scorer this season. She has scored at least two goals in every game thus far, and had a hat trick in the opener.
As Yale enters this game with a perfect record, Cornell comes off its first defeat of the year. The 1-0 loss to Syracuse was a success in terms of playing competitively with a ranked team, but a disappointment nonetheless.
“I was pleased to see the team mad,” head coach Berhane Andeberhan noted. “The players left that game feeling that they deserved to win, which is a big change from the past.”
While Yale has relied heavily upon its offense this season, the Red has leaned on its defense. Although Cornell lost Wednesday’s match in Syracuse, it allowed the 18th ranked Orangewomen just one goal. The defensive success can be attributed to tremendous team defense as well as magnificent goalkeeping from freshman Katie Thomas.
To win tomorrow’s crucial conference opener, the Red will have to continue playing stingy defense and work as a unit.
“We’re looking to defend as a team,” senior defender Lindsay Rovegno said. “We basically need to stick together and communicate with one another. If we can do that, we’ll be fine.”
Andeberhan echoed her sentiments. “We just need to concentrate on ourselves and not worry about [Yale]. We’ve been practicing a few different formations, and I’m comfortable that we can change on the spot.”
Playing Yale on the road to start the Ivy season is a tough chore, but if the Red can continue its good play, it will have a great chance to start its league schedule on the right foot.
Archived article by Alex Ip