It may have been a season of struggle for the women’s soccer team, but it was also a season of some great performances, great sportsmanship, and important lessons.
Cornell went 4-10-3 overall, and 1-5-1 in the Ivy League. The Red had difficulty scoring all year long, due to some injuries to key players — but the team never gave up — and ended the season with a hard-fought tie against traditional Ivy powerhouse, Dartmouth.
There were also some impressive individual performances during the season. Junior midfielder Kara Ishikawa led the Red in goals, and earned a second-team All-Ivy selection.
“Kara is clearly one of the best soccer players we have,” said head coach Berhane Andeberhan. “[Early on] Kara was playing well, and she played well all year. Kara has been excellent from beginning to end. She’s clearly a top quality soccer player, and she’s one of the core that we rely on. She’s probably the most complete soccer player on our team.”
The Red’s top emerging star this season was freshman defender Leslie Campbell. She started every game for the Red, and helped anchor the backline. She was awarded an honorable mention All-Ivy selection for her efforts.
“Leslie Campbell immediately established herself as one of the core players on the team. She’s an advanced soccer player. It was great to have her,” Andeberhan said.
A number of the other freshmen saw significant playing time this year.
“I think everyone of them made a contribution, [but] not all played up to what we anticipated. Many of them are decent talents, but tactically they didn’t quite catch on. Whenever the pressure was on, they reverted to whatever they can do,” he said.
Cornell was also plagued by injury this year. Sophomore midfielder Kaitlin Dufton was out for the entire year, and junior forward Shannon Fraser missed a number of games. Senior forward Emily Wyffels also lost playing time due to injury.
“Shannon is one of our big leaders. She, Kara — along with [senior defender] Natalie Dew — give this team confidence. Losing her greatly weakened our attack. Not only do we lose her scoring potential, but we lose her defensive energy as well,” Andeberhan said.
Cornell started the year with a 4-1-2 record, but the team’s offense struggled during much of the Ivy League season. The team won only a single conference game — a 2-1 win against Columbia.
After that victory, the Red dropped nine straight games. Penn and Yale both defeated Cornell, 2-0, in Ithaca. The Red also dropped a 4-1 match at Harvard, and a 3-0 game at Brown, while No. 8 Princeton defeated Cornell 7-0.
But on a late autumn day at Berman Field, Cornell was able to end its season with a very solid game. The Red played Dartmouth into double-overtime, and managed to come away with a hard-fought 0-0 tie. Senior goalkeeper Katie Thomas had 14 saves for the day, many of great difficulty.
Thomas — who faced major injury last year — shared goalkeeping work with sophomore Katrina Matlin this season.
“Our goalkeeping situation did not materialize as hoped,” Andeberhan said. “We were very careful to protect Katie … and trying to bring along Katrina as well. We were hoping not to overwork Katie, so we might bring her back to her top-notch level. It was a strange thing, but neither of them were quite up to their capacity. They worked hard, they had a great attitude, but they weren’t performing as we expected.”
Thomas noted that the seniors approached the Dartmouth game as if it was the first match of the next season. The upperclassman wanted to start the Red on the road to Ivy League success in the years ahead. Although the 2004 season did not materialize the way the Red would have liked, the considerable on-field experience the underclassman gained should bode well for the future of the team.
Archived article by Ted Nyman
Sun Staff Writer