The field hockey team (6-2, 2-0 Ivy) will continue its tour of the state this weekend as it travels to Manhattan to take on the Columbia Lions (3-5, 0-2) tomorrow morning.
Despite Columbia’s abysmal record, Cornell will have to bring its ‘A’ game to town. Though the Lions lost their top-five players to graduation, the team has been piecing its game together and has managed a trio of wins, scoring three goals in each. Part of their success is due to senior midfielder Dana Zullo, the all-time assist leader for Columbia. When not able to find her teammates, Zullo will often finish the play herself, making her an unpredictable opponent.
Lion’s forward Melissa Macomber will also prove to be a challenge for the Red this weekend. A 2000, and 2001 All-Ivy honorable mention, Macomber played in Australia this past spring where she gained experiences different from those of her state-side teammates. Her improvement is illustrated by her four goals on the season, tying her with Cornell’s top scorer, junior back Kimmy Gardner.
“Macomber always scares me,” said head coach Michelle Tambroni. “She’s one of their biggest components along with Dana Zullo. I always worry about those two players.”
Still, Tambroni is confident that her defensive squad can get the job done. She mentioned that senior attack Sarah Rosenbaum would be called on to play a large role tomorrow. Junior Ali Winsky, and sophomore Julie Huang are also slated to be instrumental in stopping the combination of Zullo and Macomber.
On the other end of the field, the Red is looking once again to penalty corners as a means of scoring. Columbia’s turf is more compact than what Cornell has been used to, but the predicted rain should make the ball easier to control. Cornell can also look forward to the typical offensive salvo.
“So many of our players are scoring right now,” said Tambroni. “The depth on our forward line is really encouraging. We have a good mix in the offensive that we can rotate.”
So far this season, Columbia has been able to turn games around after the half. Cornell will have to be careful of this, as the Red’s defense often seems to falter in the closing moments of the game. Though Tambroni has worked on this with her squad, there is no real way of preparing for a last-minute game situation.
Columbia has an overall quick and persistent style of play. The Lions also have a strong home record, including a shutout over Sacred Heart and a three-goal victory over La Salle. Cornell in contrast, has held its own against nationally ranked Kent State, and opened with a win over Nor-Pac contender, Stanford. While most coaches would worry about the fatigue of a drawn out road schedule, Tambroni takes a different view. She feels the team will be more relaxed this weekend, especially with prelims out of the way.
“Believe it or not,” said Tambroni, “I think our athletes are excited to go away and get out of this atmosphere.”
Archived article by Matt Janiga