October 30, 2003

Women's Soccer Falls to Buffalo

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It was a night ripped straight out of a Halloween horror movie. The women’s soccer team ended its 2003 home campaign with a harrowing loss to Buffalo, 3-2, on the rain-soaked pitch at Berman Field. The Red dropped to 7-5-2 while the Bulls pulled to 11-7-1.

“We played poorly,” said head coach Berhane Anderberhan. “We earned a good loss today. This is the first time in many years, the first time with this group that I can say that we deserved to lose.”

At the outset of the match, the Red seemed to be in good shape. The midfield was possessing the ball well and the action was almost exclusively confined to Buffalo’s half of the field. Junior Katie Thomas, making her first start since suffering a concussion against Penn, was barely tested in the first 20 minutes of the game.

“Early in the game, we were well organized and playing the ball pretty well,” said Thomas. “They didn’t have great chances, because we shut them down.”

Around the 25-minute mark, however, the worm turned. The momentum of the game evened out and the action resembled a tennis match, with pressure alternating between the Cornell and Buffalo goalboxes. To quell the Cornell attack, the Bulls began to draw their defenders farther toward the half-line. This offsides trap caught the Red forwards, senior Emily Knight and sophomore Shannon Fraser, three times in the last 20 minutes of the first half.

After reaching halftime with bagels on the scoreboard, Buffalo wasted no time in capitalizing on a scoring opportunity. In the 47th minute, Buffalo forward Jenny Dannecker rocketed a shot past diving freshman keeper Katrina Matlin, who started the second half for the Red.

The shock of finding itself behind seemed to snap Cornell out of its organizational funk. The Red scored in quick succession, at 59:51 and 63:24. Both goals were scored by Fraser, the first on an assisting cross from the left side of the box from Knight. Fraser’s second goal was the result of an unassisted breakaway.

It was at this time, when Cornell had a 2-1 lead and the momentum, that the nightmare began for the Red. At 71:29, off the second corner kick in the game, Buffalo scored the equalizing goal when Matlin misplayed the rebound. This left four opposing players in front of an open goal with the ball at their feet. Two minutes later, Matlin collided with a Buffalo player and left the game with severe contusions on both legs, forcing Thomas back into the game. Five minutes after the substitution and only 15 minutes after Fraser’s go-ahead goal, Buffalo striker Nicole Olszewski slotted the ball past Thomas. In the time that it takes a black cat to walk underneath a ladder, the Bulls had taken the lead and the victory.

“We lost the momentum and weren’t playing as a team,” said junior defender Natalie Dew. “It’s hard and disappointing.”

“You can’t show up without passion and expect to connect the dots,” said Anderberhan.

The Red will show up on the shores of Lake Carnegie on Saturday to play Ivy rival Princeton.

Archived article by Per Ostman