It may only be the beginning of the season, but things look to be shaping up well for the talented defense of the women’s soccer team. Cornell (2-0) did not allow a single goal in its wins over St. Bonaventure and Robert Morris last weekend. And although Cornell may not have been facing No. 24 Dartmouth or Princeton, the Red defense limited its opponents to a mere nine shots in two games.
The backfield this year features both veteran experience and talented youth. The team has a combination of those attributes with sophomore Leslie Campbell, a 2004 All-Ivy honorable mention. The California native returns this year as a key leader on defense, and she will again play at the sweeper position. Campbell started all 17 games last year.
“Leslie gives us a lot of confidence because she’s so good,” said head coach Berhane Andeberhan. “She’s constantly talking to the fullbacks and organizing. And when there is a need to get on the ground and slide tackle, she can.”
The backfield also has experienced defenders with senior Kelly Bowen, and juniors Jessica Schindler and Mira MacLennan. Although MacLennan battled an injury for much of last season, she ranks as one of the team’s best marking backs. Bowen and Schindler have demonstrated solid improvement over the past year, according to Andeberhan.
“Kelly Bowen and Jess Schindler just came so much more prepared, and it was kind of evident in the spring,” he said. “They were working so well – as the whole team was – working on their weaknesses, with a high level of fitness.”
Cornell has also added some new recruits in the backfield, including Alberta native Stacey McLeod. “[McLeod] is a freshman, but she’s a freshman going on grad school, in terms of soccer,” Andeberhan said. “She’s very talented, calm and composed.”
For its last line of defense, Cornell has three goalkeepers – junior Katrina Matlin, along with freshmen Jessica Lebo and Taylor Hendren.
Matlin played in nine games last season, and she recorded a .667 saves percentage and a 1.45 goals against average. She also had four shutouts during the year.
“We’ve got goalkeepers that are very confident and calm,” Andeberhan said. “[Lebo and Hendren] have been on very good teams, and in big games. Katrina has done well, and she’s showing a lot more composure.”
Andeberhan noted how important it will be for the Red to maintain that kind of composure, especially as the team approaches the difficult Ivy League season. He also commented upon the importance of good communication.
“What I like about [the defense] is that they communicate very well, verbally and non-verbally,” Andeberhan said. “They’re calm, and they can come out playing well, even under pressure.”
Archived article by Ted Nyman
Sun Staff Writer