During their August preseason, the entire women’s soccer team spent countless hours gutting out endless 120-yard sprints — even the goalkeepers. This might seem a tad counter-intuitive; if the keeper ever has to sprint 120 yards in a game-situation, the team’s chances of winning aren’t stellar. However, the entire women’s soccer team also practiced taking shots on goal — even the defenders. It may seem like wasted repetitions, but if a stopper or fullback ever happens to score, then the practice was worth the time. Especially, if it happens twice.
With just over 33 minutes left in yesterday’s game against tournament-host St. Bonaventure, junior stopper Natalie Dew found herself taking a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box. She bounced her shot into the left corner of the goal-mouth, giving the Red a 2–0 advantage.
“It was really exciting,” said Dew. “As a defender, I didn’t know if I’d ever get a chance to score.”
Sixteen minutes later, the Cornell defense continued to assert itself when senior fullback Jo Galardy, looking to connect with a forward, hit a looping cross that found the back of the St. Bonaventure.
“I was really happy, and I threw my hands in the air and everything,” said Galardy, a tri-captain.
The other two Cornell goals were scored from more familiar positions. Sophomore striker Shannon Fraser added to her hot streak with the first goal of the game early in the second half. Senior midfielder Sarah Greenberg increased the Cornell lead to three shortly before Galardy scored.
The goals by Dew, Galardy, and Greenberg were each the first of their Cornell careers. Such an egalitarian offensive display is a testament to the depth of the Cornell roster and the growth of the program over the last few years.
“In the past, we’ve always had to rely on one or two people to score all the goals,” said senior defender Lindsay Rovegno. “Now, we’re a threat to score from anywhere. It shows where we’re headed as a team.”
After this weekend’s unbridled success, the Red is clearly headed in the right direction. Over the course of both games, versus Robert Morris on Friday and St. Bonaventure yesterday, the Red scored seven goals while giving up only one — in the waning moments of Friday’s game. A more telling statistic — the Cornell defense allowed the opposing offenses a mere eight shots on goal, four in each game.
“We’re finally working into a good rhythm as an entire team,” said junior midfielder Emily Wyffels, who notched her first Cornell point with an assist on Friday. “We’re playing the way that we know we’re capable of playing.”
“Everybody is focused on defending and possessing the ball,” said Rovegno. “We are winning the ball as a team and then attacking as a team.”
The 3-1 victory over Robert Morris and the 4-0 shellacking of St. Bonaventure give the Red a three-game winning streak after starting the season with a tie and a loss. To the jealousy of all residents of the East Hill, the women’s soccer team will next see action on the island of Oahu this weekend at the University of Hawaii Invitational.
Archived article by Per Ostman