The Cornell women’s soccer team nearly spoiled Princeton’s unbeaten Ivy league mark this Saturday, only to watch the Tigers punch in a game-winning goal with 1:26 left. The final score in one of the Red’s finest efforts of the year was 1-0.
A first half that saw the Red dominate at mid-field, frustrating Princeton’s offensive rhythm and allowing for a more potent Cornell attack, has characterized this season’s team.
At the outset of the second half, the Tigers seemed to adjust to Cornell’s crowding of the middle third of the field and started getting off better shots, testing Cornell keeper freshman Katie Thomas incessantly.
“[Katie] really kept us in the game,” said junior co-captain Sarah Olsen, “and the defense really played amazingly even when [Princeton] was attacking more.”
While the Cornell defense was steadily falling back into a high pressure defensive set, the Tigers increased their own pressure on the other side of the ball.
“It was great to watch us really come together in the second half,” said Thomas of Princeton’s second half onslaught. “We really wanted to be the ones to upset them, and it showed.”
When the smoke had begun to clear with just a few minutes left Princeton had rattled off 29 unsuccessful shots in the game (to Cornell’s 10), and Thomas stopping 13 of them.
However, with just under a minute and a half left in regulation, junior forward Krista Arniss capitalized on a moment of confusion in front of Cornell’s net and sailed a ball over Thomas’s head from 25 yards out.
“[Thomas] got her hands on it,” said Olsen of the heart-breaking image, “but it just seemed to keep going.”
Princeton had coaxed the Red into its own little game of Russian roulette and the 30th bullet turned out to be lethal.
The Red now stands at 3-5-3 overall (1-3-1 Ivy) while Princeton ups its mark to 11-1-1 overall (5-0 Ivy).
When asked how Saturday’s near upset has affected Cornell’s psyche Olsen was quick to comment, “We now know that if we can play this way, with this type of effort, we can win the remainder of our schedule.”
Cornell’s next chance at victory comes tomorrow, when it heads to Bucknell for a 3 p.m. match.
Archived article by Scott Jones