Although the Cornell women’s soccer team finished its 2000 campaign with an abysmal 3-14, (1-7 Ivy) record, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the 2001 squad. Armed with fresh recruits, an improved core of players and a winning attitude, the team could be a surprise this season.
Obviously, the relative strength of the opposing teams will determine Cornell’s strategy for any given game. However, head coach Berhane Andeberhan would like to see his team be effective both on the attack and on defense.
Defensively, Andeberhan wants his players to help one another. In order to succeed, good team defense will be essential. In the first game victory over Lafayette, 3-0, the Red displayed the disciplined team concept that it needs to carry out the rest of the season. The team will concentrate on ball possession and will try to string together successive passes to generate its scoring opportunities.
“We want a building game rather than a stampeding wrestling match,” Andeberhan stated. “We’re looking for combination plays to score rather than random collisions and squirted goals.”
Even though it is fairly early in the season, Andeberhan has settled upon a regular rotation of players. Freshman Katie Thomas will provide stability in goal. Thomas has already shown that she deserves the starting job in net, shutting out Lafayette in her East Hill debut.
Bolstering the defense will be central defender freshman Natalie Dew, whose versatility adds flexibility to the Red’s unit.
“Our biggest need was in the central defense and the goal,” Andeberhan noted. “We were very lucky to get those two.”
Unlike previous seasons, the Red has a multitude of capable defenders. Strong and steady junior Lindsey Rovegno and senior co-captain Julie DeMichele man the fullback spots.
The two center back positions will be a rotating trio of senior Ellen Daly, sophomore Karne Hukee, and Dew. All three players are capable of playing in either the flatback system or the sweeper-stopper system. Capable freshmen backups Ann Hubert and Kate Quintalino provide depth.
The center midfield is comprised of junior co-captain Sarah Olsen and classmate Cailin Rice. On occasion, senior Kim Feeney will receive the starting nod. Starting at left outside midfield is senior Andrea Madison, who has surprised the coaching staff with her amazing play.
Referring to Madison, Andeberhan said, “She’s been doing great, like she’s in a trance. I hope she doesn’t wake up from it.”
Junior Caitlin Ramsey will start at the right outside midfield. At times, Ramsey could be used as a forward, at which point, junior Adie Sherwood would take over the midfield spot.
Finally, the ‘dynamitas,’ sophomores Emily Knight and Alicia Doolittle, will be the strikers. Small in stature, but big in heart, the two are sure to team up for numerous goals.
Cornell will be missing junior midfielder Stephanie Setyadi into October due to injury. As one of the team’s most skilled players, she will no doubt play a huge role on the team upon return.
The women’s soccer program on East Hill has struggled mightily for several years, exemplified in last year’s disappointing record. However, an in-depth look at the numbers reveals that the Red has started to play much better against top level competition. This fact is indicated by the numerous heartbreaking defeats that the squad suffered last season — losses that Andeberhan looks proudly upon.
“The team, in the past, would lose to stronger opponents by huge margins. So losing those games by that close margin was a huge success.”
While the team has improved greatly, Andeberhan concedes that there is plenty of work to be done before Cornell contends for the Ivy crown.
“The thing we learned last year is if they’re going to beat us, they’re going to earn it,” Andeberhan emphasized. “At the end of the game, they’re going to have a headache.”
Archived article by Alex Ip