“I didn’t really play my freshman year,” she remembers. “But I stuck with the program. I wanted to finish, and I’ve ended up where I wanted to be.”
After scoring one goal her sophomore season and notching one assist last year, Dunn has had a breakout senior campaign. She leads the Red with six goals and one assist, and is tied for fourth in the Ivy League standings for goals this season.
“For me the biggest difference this year has been my confidence level, it’s definitely highest this year,” she said. “And the coaching staff has enabled me to play the way I know and the way I like. I’ve found a niche on the forward line.”
The difference has been evident from the first game of the season, when Dunn equaled her career totals against Lehigh with one goal and two assists. Although the winning edge has eluded the Red, Dunn has continued to perform better than ever before.
“We knew going into this season it was going to be hard,” she said. “We’re young, and we have a new coaching staff. It’s a rebuilding year.”
The goals kept coming for Dunn, who kept the Red close in a 2-1 overtime loss to Penn and led the way to victory against Yale with two unassisted goals. For her performance in the Yale game, she was named Tompkins Trust Co./Cornell Varsity Athlete of the Week and Ivy League Player of the Week. Dunn was the first Cornell field hockey player to earn this Ivy honor in five years.
“It felt really great, really nice,” she said of the recognition. “The Yale game was definitely the best feeling [of my career]. This is my last year and I wanted to go all out.”
Dunn and her classmates, veterans of three coaching changes in four years, have led the way in showing the team how to play through the challenges that just keep coming.
“[Our record] hasn’t been indicative of how we’re playing,” she said. “We played really well against Princeton, we held them.”
Dunn feels the Red’s 2-9 record (1-4 Ivy) has not diminished the spirit of the team.
“The greatest part of what I’ve experienced is playing with my teammates and becoming friends,” she said. “Going through difficult situations and coming out on top, whether it’s lifting, practice, or a game.”
The dedication that made Dunn stick with the program has paid off in her final season, and she hopes to share this passion with others on the team.
“I want them to be playing for love of the sport,” she said. “Not for politics or other stuff behind it. Just giving your all through every game, and enjoying yourself on the field. For Dunn, the success she has achieved so far is still not enough.
“For me personally, [my goal is] winning a few more games,” she said. “I want to go out strong. I want it to be a positive experience for everyone.”
Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Staff Writer