September 23, 2003

Knight Scores Twice as Women Drop Hawaii

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The women’s soccer team is exhausted. The Red returned late yesterday afternoon from the OHANA Hotels and Resorts Soccer Shootout, where it notched a 2-0 victory. The ten-thousand miles the team traveled over four days were evident as the Red fell off the bus at Bartels hall yesterday and rolled down the hill to the comforts of home and beds that weren’t at 35,000 feet.

But let’s not feel too sorry for the women; their victory was against the University of Hawaii and while the East Hill slogged through the death throes of Isabel, they played soccer in paradise. Some of the Red even found time to hit the surf.

“We kind of paddled around and popped up a few times on our own,” said senior tri-captain Emily Knight, who scored both goals in Saturday’s game. “It wasn’t quite Blue Crush, but we looked the part.”

If they didn’t quite have the skill to hang ten, the women clearly had the talent to hang a shutout on the Rainbow Wahine. In its first night game of 2003, Cornell dominated in all aspects and put forth its most complete effort thus far this season.

“We played the kind of game that we’ve been working towards playing for a long time, but in previous games have only seen glimpses of,” said senior tri-captain Lindsay Rovegno.

Hawaii proved to be a good test for Cornell; many of the Wahine were native Hawaiians and were taller and faster than most teams that the Red will play this season. They played a physical game, but Cornell’s superior composure and skill won the day.

“They were amazing athletes,” said Knight. “But we were the better soccer players.”

Knight’s first goal came a mere seven minutes into the game off a nice assist by her fellow striker, sophomore Shannon Fraser.

“Shannon had the ball on the left side and I came unmarked through the middle. She crossed it on the ground and I was able to beat the goalie to the ball and redirect it into the net,” said Knight. “Shannon did all the work.”

Knight sealed the victory in the 57th minute as she out-sprinted the Hawaii defense on a breakaway.

The victory was the second-straight shutout by Cornell. The stellar defense comes as no surprise, as the Red has been working hard on defending as a team all season. In the past two games, it’s reaped the benefits.

“Every individual knew their own responsibility and at the same time was able to incorporate that into a team game,” said Rovegno. “Every person that stepped on the field was stepping up to win the balls that needed to be won.”

For one member of the Red, the victory held extra meaning. Sophomore midfielder Kara Ishikawa is a native of Oahu.

“I was really nervous at the start of the game, but it was really great to see everyone out cheering for me, even though I was playing against Hawaii,” said Ishikawa.

Her family and friends entertained her Cornell teammates throughout the weekend, bestowing flower lei’s and a taste of Hawaiian culture on the visitors from the mainland.

“The island is like a big family and I feel like they welcomed the team into it,” said Ishikawa.

On Friday, Cornell was scheduled to open tournament play with a game against Butler University, but the Bears pulled out of the contest at the last minute. Instead, the Red held a clinic for upwards of 60, nine-12 year old youth soccer players. The young Hawaiians were all members of Ishikawa’s old club team.

“We set up stations to teach dribbling, passing, and shooting and then we played some games,” said Knight. “It was really cool to get to know all these little kids. They came to our game on Saturday night and asked for our autographs!”

Autograph seekers from the East Hill need only wait until Saturday when the Red open Ivy League play against Columbia on the pitch at Berman Field.

“We played so well this weekend; we just need to carry that through,” said Knight. “We’ve finally arrived as a team.”

Archived article by Per Ostman