Wind grazed the grass and faint notes from the pep band’s practice wafted overhead, as the women’s soccer team warmed up for its game against Brown on Saturday. The scene on Berman Field was perfect for the Red’s homecoming showdown against the Bears. For many seniors, however, the contest signified something much greater: it was the last league match they would ever play at Cornell.
“It’s emotional, having your last homecoming game,” said senior Karne Hukee. “But at the same time, I don’t think any of us dwelled on it. It was just another game.”
From the outset, victory seemed assured for the Red, and fortune seemed to be with the seniors. At 16:04, sophomore Kara Ishikawa dished a pass to senior co-captain Emily Knight, who broke for the goal. The Scituate, Mass. native took the pass and knocked the ball past Brown’s senior goalie Sarah Gervais for the game’s first score.
Less than 10 minutes later, however, Brown countered with its own offensive burst. In Cornell’s zone, Freshman Kathryn Moos took a cross from senior Julie Herrold. Moos then weaved briefly through Red defenders, shot, and watched the ball sail to the back of the net. The goal tied the game and turned the tables for the Red.
“We scored a great goal early and got ahead,” said head coach Berhane Andeberhan. “But instead of playing with confidence, we played cautiously, and Brown took advantage.”
Moos continued her onslaught of Cornell’s defense. Soon after scoring her first goal, she fired another shot at Cornell goalie Katrina Matlin, but the freshman netminder made a diving grab to keep the contest tied at one.
That score quickly changed, however. From 30 yards out, Moos struck again, giving Brown a 2-1 lead at halftime.
“They played just like we thought they would — tough and in the air,” said senior Lindsay Rovegno. “We scored first, but they disrupted our style and, instead of coming back, we let it get to us.”
During halftime, Andeberhan calmed the team and helped it regroup. As they met, he reminded his athletes to simply play their game: keep control of the ball, reduce physical contact, and create scoring opportunities. The pep talk worked.
Cornell came out of the gates firing on all cylinders and tied the contest less than 10 minutes into the second half. Again, Knight and Ishikawa teamed up to put the Red on the board. This time around, Ishikawa deftly passed the ball through several Brown defenders and towards Knight. As she went to intercept the ball, however, Knight slipped and began to fall. Despite losing balance, she still managed to get a foot on the ball and booted it into Brown’s net to even the contest at 2-2. The score remained that way until the end of regulation, but the last goal fueled the team’s momentum as it headed into overtime.
“Our first half was not so good,” said Hukee, “but we had an amazing second half. If we’d played the whole game like we did in the second half, we would have won.”
Unfortunately for the Red, a Brown goal fifty seconds into OT dashed all hopes of capturing the game. A pass from sophomore Meghan Schreck, set up Moos in front of the Red net again. For the third and final time, she scored and put her team on top, 3-2.
The loss was bittersweet for the seniors, who had hoped to end their league careers here on a high note. It was also tough for the team, whose record drops to 7-4-2 and 1-3-1 in the Ivy League.
Despite the loss, head coach Berhane Andeberhan felt proud of his team.
“I was really very happy with how we played,” he said. “We played well for all but 10 or 15 minutes of the game, and Brown got some lucky goals, but I have to give them credit. They deserve it.”
Rovegno felt differently.
“It was really disappointing,” she lamented, “especially because we had been down and then battled back.”
But the Red still has one more chance to showcase its talent for a home crowd this season. The team will host Buffalo on Wednesday in its last match on Berman Field this year.
Archived article by Everett Hullverson