After three straight weekends on the road in which the Red combined for a 1-5 record, the field hockey team (3-7, 1-3 Ivy League) returns to Ithaca looking for its second Ivy win against No. 16 Harvard (7-3, 2-0 Ivy League) on Sunday. Cornell will then travel to Charlottesville, Va. take on Virginia (6-6) on Tuesday.
Despite its mediocre record so far this season, things appear to be coming together for the Red. Last Sunday, junior Gina Testa notched a goal against Lehigh in double-overtime that snapped Cornell’s six-game losing streak. This victory followed a strong showing against Princeton, in which the Red lost by only two goals to the defending Ivy champion. It was Cornell’s best showing against the Tigers since 1994.
“We have played two complete games this past weekend,” said head coach Phillip Sykes. “The girls and the coaches feel that things are coming around, that we are moving on to bigger and better things.”
Sykes has pointed to inconsistency as the squad’s main problem this season. Part of this has to do with the adjustment of the new offensive and defensive schemes that Sykes has implemented when he entered as the interim coach at the beginning of the season. He feels now that Cornell has finally adjusted to this transition.
“Things have changed for the better, things are starting to take hold just looking at last week games,” said Sykes. “Every team we’ve played against we have been competitive. We could have won those games. It’s just a matter of us being consistent and of us showing up,”
Harvard comes into the contest having won four of its last five games. The Crimson dropped a contest on Wednesday to No.12 Northeastern. Harvard possesses a powerful offense led by Elizabeth Andrews, who has 16 points on the season. Five other players are averaging more than a point per game. Mina Pell and Jen Ahn led a strong defensive group for the Crimson. Last year the Red was shut out, 2-0, by Harvard goalie Katie Zacarian, who made eight saves.
Virginia has had a streaky season, winning five of its first six before skidding into a five-game losing streak.
“They are a very talented team. Some days they can play and beat the best teams in the nation. Other days they can lose to bad teams,” said Sykes.
This pattern is evident when the Cavaliers nearly beat No. 3 Maryland a week ago. They will be looking for revenge this year, as last season Cornell defeated the Cavaliers, 2-1, in double overtime off a goal by senior Carissa Mirasol. The Cavaliers are led by Katie Phillips, Katie Nicholson, Allie Flynn up front and Katie Jo Jefren in the backfield. In net they have started Logan Carr.
Game time for the Red is 12 p.m. on Sunday against Harvard and 12 p.m. on Tuesday against Virginia.
Archived article by Chris Callanan