Over fall break while most Cornell students are relaxing, the Red field hockey will have its hands full. The Red will head east to meet Ivy League leading Harvard tomorrow and then square off against Providence on Sunday.
“If we can beat Harvard, we’re right back in it,” said head coach Donna Hornibrook. “All the Ivy schools have at least one loss. Harvard is the team to beat right now and beating them would be an amazing confidence boost. We also feel like we have a shot at beating Providence. They are an up-and-coming program.”
Harvard is currently ranked 17th in the nation and has a 6-4 record (2-0 Ivy League). The Crimson already has wins over Brown and Penn — the Red fell to the Quakers in overtime, 2-1. Although, the Crimson is nationally recognized it has not beaten a ranked team all season losing to 20th-ranked Maine, sixth-ranked Connecticut, third-ranked Michigan, and 10th ranked Northeastern. The Red lost to 16th-ranked Syracuse earlier this season but feel that Harvard is more vulnerable to the upset.
“Syracuse lost some games early on,” Hornibrook said. “Since the first three games of the season, Syracuse has been one of the better teams. And they should be ranked higher than they are. Harvard has not played the same caliber of opponents that Syracuse has but they are definitely a top-20 team.”
Harvard has a balanced team. The attack has nine players who have scored at least one goal. Containing the Crimson attack will be difficult but if the Red wants to win the defense will need to stop senior Shelley Maasdorp. Maasdorp has eight goals and three assists and leads the Ivy League in goals, shots, and points. The Harvard is defense equally strong surrendering just 14 goals on 82 shots this season. The Red expects a tough game.
“They are a very technical team,” Hornibrook said. “They are athletic and strong at all the positions. They are an excellent team with a very good penalty corner and dangerous players. They are a balanced team.”
On Sunday, the Red will try to even its record against Big East foes with a win over Providence. The Friars have a 6-7 record this fall and are coming off a 3-1 victory over instate rival Rhode Island. The team has played several tough teams including Harvard, Maine, and Boston College. The Friars are a not powerhouse but the Red are prepared for a close game.
“They’re young and had some mixed results,” Hornibrook said. “They are a solid team and there are no weak teams. This will be a very good match for us. They are a balanced, hard working, and a little bit of a gritty team.”
The Red is hoping this road trip will get its season back on track and have not hit the panic button yet.
“I would like to see a little bit more urgency,” Hornibrook said. “We’ve had three losses by a goal. When you’re in that tight of a game there is not that much difference between the two teams. Our team has worked hard but there’s a reserve there that we haven’t emptied. The team is learning to win but we need to realize there is more in the tank than we think we have.”
Archived article by James Rich
Sun Staff Writer