In the year 2000, then field hockey head coach Michelle Tambroni was asked if she was surprised to see how well the freshman class was playing.
“Surprised, no. I knew they were talented,” responded Tambroni. “They have found a place here at Cornell, and they are the future of the team.”
She was right.
Before their senior season, three out of the seven classmates earned All-Ivy and All-Region honors, including Carissa Mirasol — just the third player in Cornell history to receive first-team honors more than once. In addition, the 2002 squad went 9-8 (3-4 Ivy) and had the longest winning streak in team history (six games), including a win over nationally ranked Virginia.
Yet those seven seniors’ careers have ended, and a new beginning with a new head coach is upon the field hockey squad. Last week, Donna Hornibrook became the new women’s field hockey head coach.
Hornibrook joins the Red after leaving Houghton College, where she was head coach since 1995. Her former team was 111-39-4 during her stay, and 16-2 last season — a mark that broke the school record for wins in a season.
Hornibrook also had a coaching stint at the University of New Brunswick, her alma mater, beginning in 1990. There, she composed a 60-8-6 record, never losing a conference game. Hornibrook was named conference coach of the year four out of her five seasons with New Brunswick, and national coach of the year once.
In her playing days, Hornibrook was a four-time All-Canada selection at New Brunswick and later played for the Canadian national squad from 1979-1983. In 1980 and 1981, Hornibrook was named Prince Edward Island Female Athlete of the Year, and in 1986 she competed on the Canadian national championship British Columbia team.
Hornibrook takes over an experienced Red squad which faltered under interim head coach Phil Sykes last season, finishing just 3-13 (1-6 Ivy). The team went 9-8 in 2002 and had high hopes heading into the past season. For next year’s juniors and seniors, this will be their third head coach in three seasons, which means yet another new coaching style.
“It’ll be different since we have to adjust to a new coaching style,” said sophomore Blair Corcoran, “but it’ll be great to learn new things from a very experienced coach and player.”
Archived article by Chris Mascaro