In 2001, the women’s soccer team managed just one Ivy League win in seven attempts. Only two weeks into the new season, the Red (3-0, 1-0 Ivy) is already looking to claim its second league scalp when it hosts Penn (3-2, 0-0 Ivy) in its home opener.
Wednesday night’s 2-0 win at Colgate improved Cornell to 3-0 on the year. The three-game winning streak is the longest by the Red in head coach Berhane Andeberhan’s tenure. Goals from junior Whitley Cale and freshman phenom Shannon Fraser sealed the result against Colgate, setting up an Ivy League showdown with defending Ivy League champions Penn tomorrow afternoon.
“It’s been wonderful,” said Andeberhan of his team’s excellent start. “I have no complaints, I couldn’t have asked for more.”
While last weekend’s victory at Columbia was a great result for the Red, the Penn match will provide the biggest indication yet of how far Andeberhan’s side has progressed since the two sides met last season. A year ago, the Quakers made home advantage count, dispatching the Red with two second-half goals. Penn went on to finish the year 13-1-3, earning a trip to the NCAA tournament. With five All-Ivy selections and an All-American returning for the Quakers, the Red will have its work cut out it them if it is to cause an upset.
“We’ll just try our best to play a good constructive game on our side,” said Andeberhan. “We’re a young team so I don’t want to bother them too much about what the other team has or doesn’t have. It’s too much of a burden on young players. We’ll just play our game.”
Although both teams carry three-game winning streaks into tomorrow’s game, the contrast in their early-season form suggests that the Berman Field crowd will be in for a fascinating encounter.
The Red has combined sound defense with patient build-up play in its first three games, conceding only a single goal to five scored. On the other hand, the Quakers haven’t been afraid to expose their back line in search of goals. In the last three games, the Quakers have netted eleven times while conceding seven.
Much of the reason for Penn’s explosive attack has been All-American striker Katy Cross. After a spectacular rookie year in which she tallied on 12 occasions, Cross has already banged in five goals in just five games in 2002. Andeberhan knows that his side will have to defend well as a unit to nullify Penn’s high profile offense.
“Our backs have been doing a good job on playing team defense. We just need to improve on that in midfield and in attack,” he said.
The Penn match is the first of a three-game homestand for the Red, with Lafayette and Yale the next opponents at Berman Field.
Archived article by Soo Kim