When the women’s soccer team takes the pitch at Berman Field tonight at 7 p.m., it will have the chance to end two streaks: No. 8 Princeton’s nine-game winning streak and its own eight-game losing streak. The Red (4-9-2, 1-4-0 Ivy) will try to spoil the Tigers’ momentum, as Princeton’s only loss this season came over a month ago.
“[Tonight’s game] gives us a chance to test ourselves against the best in the league and one of the best teams in the country,” said head coach Berhane Andeberhan. “We competed well against them the last couple of years, although they were the better team.”
On Tuesday night against Buffalo, senior co-captain Emily Wyffels helped the Red jump out to the early lead in the sixth minute, as she scored her first collegiate goal off of a Buffalo turnover. The Bulls netted the equalizer off a free kick in the 31st minute, and then went ahead for good in the 53rd minute. The Red welcomed junior co-captain Shannon Fraser back to the starting lineup. She hasn’t started the last three games due to a hamstring injury.
“She’s only 70 percent, but her effect is so immeasurable because all of sudden, our midfield is more effective because they have a target,” Andeberhan said. “She and Emily read each other well and they’re complimentary. The two of them were driving the four fullbacks of Buffalo crazy. Their ability to hold the ball together also gave our midfield the ability to attack.”
The Red has played some close contests against the Tigers in recent years. Last season at Princeton, junior Kara Ishikawa scored the team’s only goal in the 18th minute, but the Tigers took the lead for good before the half was over and shut down the Cornell offense.
“Kara Ishikawa scored a great goal which showed her technical and tactical advancement and superiority, it was a magical goal,” Andeberhan said. “[Princeton] scored two goals which showed their physical superiority. They just crossed the ball in the box and outjumped us.”
Princeton boasts one of the most dangerous players in the conference in 2003 Ivy League Player of the Year Esmeralda Negron. Negron’s 11 goals and eight assists are tops in the conference, and she had played particularly well against the Red, recording three goals and an assist in three career games against Cornell. Emily Behncke is another scoring threat for the Tigers, as she is the league’s third leading scorer with eight goals and four assists. In goal, Madeleine Jackson and Emily Vogelzang have been splitting time all season, and both keepers have a goals against average under 0.60.
The Red will utilize team defense, with the defenders playing man-to-man on the ball side and zone on the other side. While Negron is sure to be a scoring threat, Andeberhan will not have senior back Natalie Dew mark her during the game.
“We will still play our regular system and have Natalie play as the defensive midfielder. She will on occasion be helping out and will occasionally defend as a one-to-one back,” Andeberhan said. “She has such dynamic range and good reading ability that we try leave her free to go help out.”
Archived article by Jonathan Auerbach
Sun Staff Writer