Following his team’s first league victory against Columbia on Saturday, women’s head soccer coach Berhane Andeberhan found himself in a strange predicament. His booters had been playing so well lately, he feared their performance might suffer down the road.
“It’s human nature to get caught up in all the excitement,” he said. “There is a risk of getting off track by thinking that a few wins now guarantees wins in the future. But, I am nonetheless very pleased with how we are playing right now.”
After tying its first game and dropping its second, 3-0, to Syracuse, the Red has surged and now sits atop a five-game winning streak. Tomorrow, the booters will put that record on the line when they head to Philadelphia to take on Penn.
Heading into the game, the women feel confident that their explosive offense and stout defense can win the day.
“We’ve been playing really well on both sides of the ball,” said senior Karne Hukee, “and we’re ready for this game.”
Offensively, the Red has maintained its style of ball control offense and tried to capitalize on scoring opportunities by spreading the ball around. So far, the scheme has produced great results. Five women have combined for 19 goals on the season, and three of those came from players who have never scored before. Saturday, senior Leigh Ann Schwartz and freshman Kaitlin Dufton both found the back of the net against the Lions, and junior Natalie Dew had her first collegiate goal against St. Bonaventure on Sept. 14.
Perhaps more importantly, the team’s defense has not allowed a goal in three games, and junior goalie Katie Thomas has a total of four shutouts on the year. In sports, those stats win games: if the other team does not score, it cannot win.
In addition, this team has a secret weapon which might carry it further than any number of goals or shutouts: chemistry. On and off the field, this group plays as one cohesive unit.
“We all just get along so well on and off the field,” said Hukee, “and I think we play better because of it.”
Andeberhan concurred, saying, “The morale and closeness of the team is really ideal at this moment. Whether in practice or in games, these kids won’t let each other give up or slack off. And yet, they do it with such a sense of fun.”
Despite all the things working for the Red right now, it cannot discount Penn, whose star player, junior Katy Cross, could wreak havoc in the Red’s backfield. The Claremont, Calif. native earned Ivy League Player of the Year last year and just set Penn’s all-time scoring record with 73 goals. As a whole, however, the Quakers (3-2-2) do not have a particularly strong team, and Cornell’s women feel confident they will return tomorrow night with a win.
“We’ve been going so strong lately,” said Hukee. “If we just keep that up, we’ll win the game.”
Archived article by Everett Hullverson