And then there was one. After 14 nip and tuck contests, the women’s soccer team (4-7-3, 1-4-1 Ivy) will play its final match of the season this weekend against Columbia (9-6-3, 1-4-1). While the game might not have much of a bearing on the league standings, it will be important for both of these young teams to finish the season strong.
The visiting Lions are one of the youngest and brightest teams in the Ivies. Nearly half of Columbia’s roster is composed of freshmen, and many of them receive a significant amount of playing time.
However, make no mistake — Columbia’s veterans steer the ship. Junior striker Meredith Corkery is the club’s most prolific scorer with nine goals and 19 points. Those numbers rank her third and fifth respectively, in the league, in those categories. The playmaker of the squad is sophomore midfielder Tara Davis, who is second on the team in assists (three), goals (four) and points (11).
Defensively, a pair of heralded freshmen help anchor the Lion backline.
Youngsters Brianne Pardini and Rachel Biondollilo have played in every one of Columbia’s contests and have provided much need stability in the back.
As an added bonus, the tandem has also contributed a total of six assists.
As of late, Columbia has struggled, losing four of its last six games and
going 1-4-1 in that stretch. Like many young teams, it has not yet mastered
the art of winning close games, as evidenced by its recent one-goal defeats
at the hands of Penn, Dartmouth, Stony Brook and Harvard.
The Red is similar in many ways to the Lions. It has enjoyed a roller coaster ride of a season, experiencing a long winless streak midway through the season. While the team’s excellent play has not necessarily always translated to tallies in the win column, it has not gone unnoticed by the coaching staff, players and fans.
Cornell coach Berhane Andeberhan noted, “We have improved in just about
every area. Our biggest improvement was in the mental game. Given what we
had, with so much adversity, [the mental game] was great. [Our players] are
more professional in their work.”
Cornell has already exceeded last year’s win total, but more importantly,
has shown that it can stand toe-to-toe with the bullies of the Ivy League.
Its best performance of the year came in a 3-2 overtime defeat on the road
against one of the Ivy’s strongest teams, Dartmouth. The Red had the Big
Green on the ropes only to be heartbroken in the extra period. It also
had the Ivy leaders, Princeton, biting its nails until a late goal in
regulation lifted the Tigers to a 1-0 victory.
“Dartmouth is a good team and they play a good constructive style of
soccer,” Andeberhan said. “That was our best game.”
As the curtain falls on the 2001 soccer season, the college careers of
several seniors also comes to an end. Those players that will be donning
the carnelian and the white for the final time include co-captain defender Julie
DeMichele, defender Ellen Daly, midfielders Andrea Madison and Kim Feeney
and forward Erica Olson. Undoubtedly, they will be missed.
“I’ll miss them all in their own ways,” Andeberhan said. “These are
people who really labored in somewhat obscurity for four years. They did
some tremendous things this year.”
Those seniors, along with their teammates, will look out to close out the
year in style tomorrow at 4 p.m. on Berman Field.
Archived article by Alex Ip