On Saturday, the women’s soccer team braved vicious winds on the pitch at Berman Field and the intense play of Columbia to notch its fifth straight win and third straight shutout. Ever since losing to Syracuse on Sept. 7, the Red has been on a dominating tear which has seen the defense allow a stingy 0.40 goals a game while the offense has scored 14 times. The victory over Columbia moves Cornell’s season record to 5-1-1 including 1-0 in the Ivy League.
While Cornell’s system of play and depth of talent are certainly the major factors in the team’s recent success, part of the credit has to go to its equipment, specifically the footwear of freshman Kaitlin Dufton. Like the Oakland Athletics and flashy wide receiver Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, Dufton will only wear white cleats.
“If you’re going to wear white cleats, you had better be pretty good,” said senior forward Leigh Ann Schwartz. “We give [Kaitlin] a hard time, but it’s not because she’s cocky or anything.”
On the contrary, Dufton is just happy to contribute to the team’s success along with her fellow freshmen.
“Sometimes, it’s intimidating playing DI soccer and it’s hard to be a freshman, but I just want to be part of the reason we win,” said Dufton.
Dufton certainly helped her team on Saturday, scoring the first and ultimately gamewinning goal of the match in the 18th minute when she beat Columbia goalkeeper Erissa Aronson on an assist from sophomore striker Shannon Fraser.
“It was great to score on them early,” said Dufton. “I think it’s about momentum; it can make or break the game.”
The wave of Cornell momentum continued to crest in the second half, as Columbia’s send-and-run style of play was neutralized by Cornell’s possession game. Sophomore midfielder Ali Gombar bent a beautiful free kick around a wall of Lion defenders at 54:20. Fourteen minutes later, Schwartz made the score 3-0 after colliding with Aronson and beating her to the ball.
“We kind of hit each other and I was able to get up faster than her and poke the ball into the net,” said Schwartz.
“I was really happy for Leigh Ann,” said Fraser. “She deserved it after all the hard work she’s put in.”
Schwartz’s goal was the second of her collegiate career and her first this season. Taken along with Dufton’s goal, also her first, the Red continued its season-long tendency to spread around the scoring chances. Such a characteristic has made it difficult for opposing defenses to contain the Cornell attack.
“It speaks to the way we play — someone’s always in a position to score,” said Schwartz.
“It’s impossible to defend against us when everyone’s a threat,” added Fraser.
The Red hopes that its successful streak will continue now that it’s started the meat of its schedule — Ivy League conference play.
“I think that we can play even better than we are, and we’re winning right now,” said Dufton.
Kaitlin “White Shoes” Dufton and the rest of the women’s soccer team travel to Penn this Saturday to play the Quakers in their second Ivy League match of the year.
Archived article by Per Ostman