“Field hockey is a sport that rewards territorial dominance,” said head coach Donna Hornibrook. “You need to capitalize on your chances. We had to take advantage of all our chances if we wanted to beat Syracuse. Man for man they are very strong and athletic but we needed a better team effort.”
The Red started slow allowing Syracuse to control the ball and march down the field in the opening minute of play. The Orange capitalized on the early opportunity and in the second minute of play, junior Paige Sullivan scored an unassisted goal. Off the goal, the Red were unable to clear the defensive zone as Syracuse continued to pressure the Red. Cornell worked hard but a little more than four minutes later, the Orange scored again. Senior Brittany Carriero gained control of the ball just inside the scoring circle and with only one Red defender in front of her, fired a shot into the back of the net, the Orange were up two and in control of the game.
“They were not quality goals,” Hornibrook said. “You cannot spot a team of that caliber a two nothing lead. We held them at the end of the half but its not acceptable to come out as flat as we did. They played well and they’re a good team. We need to give a better effort.”
The Red kept the Orange off the board for the remainder of the first half but was unable to cut into the Syracuse lead. Each Red offensive push was met with a stronger Orange counter thrust. The Orange held play at midfield and used its outstanding team athleticism to carry the ball back toward the Red goal. As the first half drew to a close, the Syracuse effort was rewarded with a penalty corner. The ensuing shot forced senior goalie Lori Blutinger to make a tough save and the Red nearly went down by three goals.
“We were very disappointed with the results,” Hornibrook said. “We didn’t compete at all the first half — not physically, not mentally.”
Syracuse continued to dominate the Red in the second half. Blutinger faced a barrage of Orange shots as the Red defense struggled under the weight of the Syracuse attack. In the 47th minute, the Orange and Sullivan broke through and tallied another goal. After receiving a pass from just outside the circle, Sullivan had an open shot and pushed the ball into the back of the net. Up by three, Syracuse did not relent and less than five minutes later the Orange scored on a penalty stroke. Freshman Courtnie Geissler did the honors, rolling the ball past a sprawling Blutinger.
In the final 15 minutes of the game, the Red offense had several chances. Senior Danielle Dunn had a couple of opportunities, with the best coming with about a minute to play. The Red could not score, however, and were shutout for the first time this season. Blutinger had a career best 15 saves. The Red managed just six shots and one penalty corner.
“We took on a highly ranked team,” Hornibrook said. “Last week they beat 17th ranked Penn State and 9th ranked Boston College, we need to keep this in perspective. Syracuse has shown that it is a very good team nationally. There are not a lot of teams that can compete with teams of that calibre.”
Archived article by James Rich
Sun Staff Writer