Coming off its second loss of the year at Penn on Saturday, the women’s soccer team will look to start a new winning streak tonight, as the Red takes on Colgate in the first home night game of the year. After the stumble in Philadelphia over the weekend, the team’s intensity is on the rebound.
“We always get riled up for night games,” said senior Karne Hukee, a center back. “Fans and the lights are the best.”
The Red had a short week of practice in which to correct the problems that emerged against Penn, such as positional spacing and team defending. The hallmark of this year’s Cornell squad has been its ability to defend from every position, a style that propelled the team to its recent five-game winning streak, but fell apart against the Quakers.
“We worked on staying in our own positions and sticking to our game,” said Hukee. “We need to get back to team defending.”
Cornell (5-2-1, 1-1-0 Ivy) will have to contend with a Raider team that will present many of the same difficulties as Penn. Colgate (7-4-0, 2-1-0 Patriot League) is a big, physical team; 13 of the Raiders’ 22 players are 5-6 or above.
“They’re having a good year and they’re very physical, like Penn,” said Hukee.
“We’re just going to go out there and play like we know how; a good, hard-fought technical style,” said senior tri-captain Jo Galardy, an outside back. “We’ll possess the ball and create some dangerous scoring opportunities.”
The Red also goes into tonight’s match without the services of its All-Ivy starting goalkeeper, junior Katie Thomas. Thomas suffered the second concussion of her Cornell career in the win against Columbia on Sept. 27 and exacerbated her condition against Penn. After the game, Thomas had to be taken to the emergency room at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center.
Until Thomas can go, the net-minding duties fall to freshman Katrina Matlin, who will be starting for the first time as a member of the Red. For her part, Matlin is ready for the challenge.
“I’m really excited for the opportunity to play; I won’t let my nerves get the best of me.”
Her teammates are rallying around the athletic rookie.
“We’ve been giving her a lot of support; as a freshman, it’s all about confidence,” said Hukee. “We’re behind her and have faith in her.”
“Katrina is such a good athlete; I know she’ll give everything she has on the field,” added Thomas.
Ever since Matlin found out that she’d be starting, she’s been working on sharpening her timing and ironing out the kinks in her technique. The past two days of practice have seen her more focused than ever before.
“My goal is a shutout,” said Matlin. “I’m nervous, but once the game starts I’ll stop thinking and just play. Katie’s really tough and I’ve got to try to fill those shoes and keep the back end steady.”
Kickoff is tonight at 7 p.m. on the pitch at Berman Field.
Archived article by Per Ostman