The women’s soccer team hopes that a combination of timely offense and balanced defense will lead to an improved record in the new season. Two games this weekend will offer Cornell a good chance to start off in that positive direction.
The Red will travel to face St. Bonaventure this afternoon in Olean, N.Y., before meeting Robert Morris on Sunday in Pennsylvania. Cornell defeated both non-conference opponents early last year, but the Red went on to struggle during the tough Ivy League season.
The booters finished the year with a 4-10-3 overall record, while going 1-6-1 in conference play. However, the new year has brought more experience and new talent, and head coach Berhane Andeberhan believes that his team is ready to win.
“The mood of the team is excellent,” Andeberhan said.
To improve this year, the team will look for strong offensive play from forward Shannon Fraser and 2004 All-Ivy midfielder Kara Ishikawa. The senior co-captains have been mainstays on the Cornell offense and Fraser’s return from a tough injury should help energize the Red’s frontline. Fraser will be joined by junior Caitlin Oliver at forward this weekend.
The Cornell midfield features several talented players, including a number of sophomores who had considerable playing time last year. The midfield should also be improved by the return of junior Kaitlin Dufton from injury.
The Red has several options on defense. Sophomore Leslie Campbell – a 2004 All-Ivy honorable mention – will be a key part of the backline. Senior Kelly Bowen, along with juniors Jessica Schindler and Mira MacLennan will also bring experience to the defense this year.
Junior goalkeeper Katrina Matlin will be in the net for Cornell this weekend. Cornell also has two freshmen goalies, as well as some talented new recruits in the backfield.
St. Bonaventure (1-1-0) opened its season with two games at the Niagara Classic in Lewiston, N.Y. The Bonnies lost 2-1 against Western Carolina, but earned a 5-1 win over Albany. St. Bonaventure is led on offense by forward Heather McDougall, who scored 15 goals for her team last year. Forward Kerry O’Malley rounds out the tough frontline, and midfielder Lois Bennett adds offensive firepower for the Bonnies.
“St. Bonaventure has two very strong forwards, so we need to stay organized to contain them,” Andeberhan said. “I have no doubt that we will do that. We have to stay focused.”
Junior Lisa Eberhart will be in net for St. Bonaventure. Eberhart recorded a .754 save percentage last year and a 7-10-2 record.
Cornell defeated the Bonnies, 2-1, last year in Ithaca.
Robert Morris (1-0) opened its season with a 3-1 win over Youngstown State on Sunday. The Colonials will play Canisius today, before meeting Cornell on Sunday.
Midfielder Angela Story had eight shots and one goal against Youngstown State, and she looks to once again be among the Colonial’s best offensive players. Forward Brenda Sasu had a goal and an assist in the team’s opener, and she was named Northeast Conference Rookie of the Week for her efforts.
“Robert Morris is similar to us, in that they try to play a nice position game,” Andeberhan said. “We should match up well against them.”
Archived article by Ted Nyman
Sun Staff Writer