October 15, 2003

Gombar's Late Goal Salvages Tie for Lady Booters

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While many Cornellians used the long weekend to get away from school and relax for a few days, the women’s soccer team was hard at work battling Harvard in a crucial Ivy League game. After a shutout loss to Penn last week, the team rebounded and won a hard fought match against Colgate 2-1 on Wednesday. The victory renewed the women’s confidence but, heading into Saturday’s contest, they knew that their foes in Cambridge, Mass. would put up a similar fight.

Neither team put any points on the board in the first half, but the score belied fierce action on the field. Harvard came out firing, spattering 10 shots at freshman goalie Katrina Matlin, who subbed for injured junior goalie Katie Thomas. By comparison, Cornell’s offense got off to a paltry start, managing only three shots on goal. Luckily for the Red, the Crimson couldn’t convert despite amazing chances.

Twice faced with a wide-open net, Harvard’s forwards failed to find the back of the net. The first shot hit the crossbar, and Red defenders cleared the ball. Then, less than fifteen minutes later, Harvard again found itself in prime position to take the lead and, again, the ball sailed, and the half ended at a scoreless tie.

Harvard came out strongly after taking some time regroup, however. In the second half, the Crimson continued to pressure Cornell’s defense. Eventually, that pressure led to a goal. At 69:10, Harvard senior Katie Westfall, the team’s leading scorer, booted in a combination from teammates Alisa Sato and Sara Sedgwick.

The goal put the Crimson in control temporarily but Cornell retaliated quickly. After crossing half, sophomore Shannon Fraser passed to freshman teammate Jessica Snyder, who was on the attack. Snyder then crossed the ball to sophomore Ali Gombar, who charged and scored with 2:50 remaining in regulation.

The Red held Harvard’s potent offense for that short span and sent the game into overtime. In extra minutes, senior Emily Knight took a pass from classmate Sarah Greenberg and headed the ball past Harvard’s sophomore goalie Katie Shields. At first, the Red thought it had pulled off a fantastic upset but then the goal was reversed by officials, who ruled that Knight was offside when she scored.

Though not a win, the tie gives Cornell’s women fourth place in the Ivy standings, close behind Dartmouth, Princeton, and Harvard.

The Red will continue its season tonight when it hosts Army at 5 p.m. on Berman Field.

Archived article by Everett Hullverson