October 24, 2003

W. Soccer Kicks Off Homecoming Weekend

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Tomorrow morning at 11 a.m., the women’s soccer team kicks Homecoming Weekend into high gear with a match against Brown University on the pitch at Berman Field. The Red (7-3-2, 1-2-1 Ivy) will look to shake off last weekend’s tough overtime loss at Yale and pickup a key Ivy League victory.

“It’s going to be very exciting to play on Homecoming,” said senior tri-captain Lindsay Rovegno. “A lot of alumni are coming up and we’re expecting even more fans than usual.”

The added electricity of the weekend’s festivities will only serve to benefit the team as it takes on Brown, a notoriously physical squad. Most of the Bears are over 5-8, which gives them a strong aerial game. Look for Brown to try to disrupt Cornell’s possession game with long lofted passes and big hits.

“A lot of the teams we play try to overpower us, because that’s how you beat a team that’s tactically more advanced,” said Rovegno. “We just need to play our game and ignore their physicality.”

“Last year, we domintated them but had trouble finishing,” said sophomore forward Shannon Fraser. “I’m sure they’ve improved, but so have we. It should be a really good game. They beat Harvard last week, so they’re obviously capable of beating good teams.”

Rather than completely revamp its plan of attack to combat the matchup problems that Brown presents, the Red will do what they have done all year — make only slight adjustments and continue to bang away with their possession system of soccer, a tactic that has allowed Cornell to control the flow of play throughout the season.

“Brown is big, strong, and tall, so we’re going to try to play the ball on the ground more,” said senior defender Karne Hukee. “We’ve been working on building our attack out of the back and letting our goalkeeper distribute the ball immediately to a defender. This keeps the ball low and takes away their height advantage in the air.”

Using the defense to bring the ball into the offensive half of the field will also benefit the Cornell attack.

“It allows us to have more numbers going forward,” said Rovegno. “Sometimes, we’re a little more defensive-minded, and this will help us offensively.”

Aside from their size and strength, Brown brings a rare quirk to the game; they employ a flip-thrower. Unlike a normal throw-in, where the player merely throws the ball over her head, a flip-thrower actually does a front aerial somersault as she runs towards the sideline. Consequently, a flip-throw can travel nearly half the length of the field and can be used as an offensive weapon.

“It worked well for them against Harvard last week, but it’s the same play every time they do it,” said Hukee. “If we see it once, we can read it. We’re not worried.”

Not worrying and not over-focusing or looking past teams has served the Red well this season. Even with tomorrow’s game marking the start of the final stretch of Ivy play, the few weeks when the league title will be decided, Cornell is keeping a level head and taking each match as it comes.

“We keep the pressure to a minimum. Each player knows their job and we take it all game by game,” said Hukee.

“That mentality had helped us a lot this year,” added Fraser. “There’s no reason we can’t win.”

Archived article by Per Ostman