The field hockey team dropped its second and third straight games this weekend as it lost to the nationally ranked Harvard Crimson, 2-0, and Maine Black Bears, 1-0, in Cambridge, Mass. Cornell is now 7-4 overall and 3-1 in Ivy League play.
Reminiscent of the Red’s opening weekend, Saturday’s Crimson matchup saw most of its action in the midfield and was decided by a few moments of weak play.
Harvard freshman Jennifer McDavitt was the first to take advantage of Cornell’s defensive lapses. McDavitt intercepted the ball while the Red defense was busy clearing it. She then worked an old-fashioned give-and-go breakaway with teammate Tiffany Egnaczyk. McDavitt finished the play by slipping the ball past junior goalkeeper Kaitlin Tierney. Her goal would go unanswered.
Cornell saw most of its scoring opportunities in the second half. Still, nothing was able to slip by Crimson goalkeeper Katie Zacarian, who came up strong by making eight of her team’s nine saves.
The contest was officially put out of reach in the 63rd minute. Harvard’s Philomena Gambale took a shot on net, which Tierney stopped. Gambale was able to collect the rebound, however, and slip it past the Red keeper.
Sophomore attack Stephanie Maher, junior back Kimmy Gardner, senior back Laura Barndt and junior attacks Carissa Mirasol and Lindsay Grace all recorded shots on net during the game.
Sunday saw an increased intensity from Cornell. The team got off 21 shots and set up 18 penalty corners over its 70 minute match with No. 19 Maine. Despite the loss, it was apparent that the offense had improved.
“I was very pleased with the corner unit on Sunday,” said head coach Michelle Tambroni. “We got everything off — their goalies were just stellar.”
Tambroni also felt that the matchup against Maine was the Red’s strongest performance to date. She noted that Cornell finally appeared to have put all the elements of its game together.
“Sunday was the best game we have had all year,” said Tambroni.
Besides the salvo of shots and controlling the ball for a majority of the game, the field hockey team came up big defensively. The Black Bears were held to eight shots. They were also trapped in their own end for most of the 70 minute contest as they crossed Cornell’s 35 yard line just three times. Despite Cornell’s best efforts, once was all the Black Bears would need.
Late in the first half, Maine forward Tara Bedard caught a pass from fellow senior Karly Bundy and knocked a shot past Tierney into the left corner of the goal. It was Bedard’s ninth tally of the season and the lone goal of the game.
Cornell was able to produce many of its own offensive opportunities and never gave up despite trailing the entire second half.
From the 35th minute on, the Red pushed the ball and capitalized on its field position. The team set up 10 penalty corners in the second half. These shots, along with Cornell’s other offensive chances left onlookers biting their finger nails until the final whistle.
One of the team’s best chances came with a minute left in regulation as junior midfielder Ali Winsky started a drive up the right side of the field. Working with Winsky were senior attack Sarah Rosenbaum, and Grace. Together, the three were able to mount one last offensive drive.
With seconds left and a chance to send the game to overtime, Grace ripped a shot in the direction of Maine’s net. The Black Bear’s defense proved to be too much however, as it stopped the ball and ended any hope of a Cornell victory.
“The game was very close,” said Tambroni. “If we had put one goal in, we would have been able to open things up and get a few more.”
Tierney appeared to have returned to her usual form after a mediocre performance against Syracuse. Aside from the three that got away, she stopped 11 of 13 shots during Saturday’s game and four on Sunday.
Cornell attack Jamie Grubel also came up big in her debut appearance. Coming off the bench, the freshman provided a defensive save in the contest against Maine. Gardner added an additional defensive save on Sunday.
Despite the three-game loosing streak Cornell remains optimistic about the remainder of its season. Tambroni feels that the past two games have shown what Cornell is capable of, and that her squad has played better as it’s faced stronger opponents.
“We all walked off the field this weekend knowing that we played very strong,” said Tambroni.
Despite Cornell’s strength this weekend, Tambroni noted some weaknesses in the team’s play. Her primary concern was with the offense.
“If we keep playing this way and work on scoring we should be able to win,” said Tambroni. She also mentioned that practice this week would be heavy on shooting drills.
The Red returns to action this Saturday against No. 18 Virginia at 1 p.m. on Schoellkopf field.
Archived article by Matt Janiga