October 24, 2003

Field Hockey Returns to Action

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After a week and a half without playing a game, the field hockey will hope this its fortunes will change for the better when it returns home Sunday to host Brown (7-5, 2-2 Ivy League). Cornell (3-9, 1-4 Ivy League) is looking for its second league win of the season.

Cornell is currently in the midst of a slump, having lost eight of its last nine matches. Part of this has to do with the difficult schedule the squad has faced. The Red has played several nationally ranked teams over the course of the year. Over its last four games, Cornell has gone 1-3 with all its losses coming against nationally ranked opponents, including league rivals Harvard and Princeton.

The team has also had to adjust to new offensive and defensive schemes implemented by interim head coach Phillip Sykes. Only recently does it seem that the team has adapted to these new systems and integrated them successfully in its play.

The Red has also suffered from inconsistency in many of its matches, playing well during one part of the game while falling apart at other times. Generally the Red’s inability to be consistent has resulted in losses.

“We just aren’t capitalizing on our chances at all,” said senior goalie Kailtin Tierney last week after a loss to the Caviliers.

The squad has worked on addressing these problems during practice this past week.

“One of the advantages [of having so much time off between games] is that it gives you time to fix problems,” said senior tri-captain Kimmy Gardner. “We have had a consistent hard practice all week. I see things being better.”

All these problems were evident in the last two games Cornell played. Two weeks ago, the Red was outplayed by a nationally-ranked Harvard squad to the tune of a 6-0 Crimson victory. Harvard’s offense dominated the Red’s defense throughout the contest while Cornell’s attack was a nonpresence, only managing two shots in the entire contest.

Cornell was unable last week to solve Virginia’s goalie Logan Carr, whose brilliant play shut out the Red 4-0. Cornell was competitive for most of the game, only trailing by a goal until late in the second half. Tierney made a season-high 12 stops while classmates Gardner and Carissa Mirasol each had three shots.

With four games remaining in the season — two of which are at home — the Red hopes that the pieces will fall into place so that it can close the season on a positive note.

Brown is coming off a strong performance last weekend, defeating Fairfield, 3-1, before falling to defending Ivy champion Princeton, 2-0. Senior Laurel Pierpont, who had a goal and an assist last weekend, leads the Bears with 10 points on the season. Behind her, fellow senior Lizzie Buza is second on the team with nine points. Senior Molly Carleton and sophomore Brooke Townsend are tied for third on the team with eight points giving the Bears many weapons on offense that will challenge Tierney on gameday.

Junior goalie Katie Noe has been solid in net for Brown, making 10 saves last week against Princeton and averaging 1.90 goals against for the year. She has been particularly effective against Cornell, as last year she shut down the Red’s offense, registering 14 stops to give the Bears a 2-1 victory. Sophomore Kristen Vincent (three defensive saves) and senior Meaghan Harwood (two defensive saves) have been leaders in the Bears backfield. Cornell’s offense, led by junior Gina Testa (eight points), and senior tri-captain Karleigh Burns (seven points), will need to get back on track Sunday after being shut out in its last two games.

“I think it we are pretty evenly matched with Brown. We can defeat them. It should be a good contest,” said Gardner.

Archived article by Chris Callanan