September 22, 2004

W. Soccer to Battle Bison

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The women’s soccer (3-0-2) team will look to remain unbeaten tonight, when the Red welcomes Bucknell (3-4-0, 0-1 Patriot) to Berman Field. It will be Cornell’s last match before Ivy League play begins Sunday at Columbia.

The Red has gone 2-0-1 in its last three contests, all in Ithaca. The booters played Binghamton to a 0-0 tie last Tuesday, which marked the Red’s second scoreless game of the year. Cornell — playing with two injured forwards — was unable to generate much offense. But the Red defeated St. Bonaventure, 2-1, on Friday, and then beat Robert Morris, 2-0, on Sunday. The booters managed 50 shots in those two games, while holding their opponents to only 15. Sophomore midfielder Caitlin Oliver scored in both matches.

“This past weekend we weren’t completely tested,” said junior midfielder Kara Ishikawa. “The teams weren’t that strong. But it was a good weekend.”

Ishikawa noted that the Red’s offense has been playing more aggressive of late — something that head coach Berhane Andeberhan has emphasized this year.

“Before, people were a little more hesitant to take shots,” Ishikawa said. “We just weren’t getting as many scoring opportunities. We weren’t attacking.”

But Cornell showed improvement in that part of game against Robert Morris, taking 26 shots on the day, and the Red controlled possession for much of the match. This dominance helped give a number of players the opportunity to score, and a total of 10 players took shots in the game.

However, Bucknell will likely offer Cornell some tougher opposition tonight. Last year, Cornell defeated the Bisons on the road, 2-1, in a very close game. Ishikawa scored the game-winner in that contest, with less than 10 minutes remaining. This year, the midfielder has scored two goals, including the golden goal in Cornell’s 1-0 win over Lafayette.

“We were definitely the stronger team [last year against Bucknell],” Ishikawa said. “We were playing a sloppy game that day. We all didn’t play that well. We could have done a lot better.”

The Bisons went 7-6-3 overall last year, and 2-3-2 in the Patriot League. Bucknell is coming off a 2-0 loss Sunday to conference rival Colgate. The Bisons also suffered a 5-0 defeat last Tuesday, against nationally-ranked Penn State.

In net for Bucknell will be sophomore Katie Dye. Dye was very busy in her last two games, as the Bisons’ opponents took an incredible 27 shots on goal. Dye managed 17 saves, and was assisted by the crossbar three times.

Cornell has the opportunity to enter the Ivy League season as the only undefeated team in the conference. However, most of the Ancient Eight has faced considerably more difficult competition. Princeton, the favorite to win the conference, has played four games against teams that appeared in last year’s NCAA tournament. The Tigers suffered their first loss of the season Sunday against Wake Forest.

But no matter what the competition may offer, Ishikawa says that the team will be ready, and is not looking beyond tonight’s game.

“We’re all going to step it up,” she said. “I have total confidence.”

Archived article by Ted Nyman
Sun Staff Writer