After a pair of dominant victories last weekend, the women’s soccer team will try to keep it perfect record intact as it welcomes Buffalo to East Hill for the Red’s home opener Sunday at noon on Berman Field.
“The first two wins really help,” said freshman back Stacey McLeod. “We’re really good heading into our first home game.”
Kicking off its season away from Ithaca, the Cornell squad trounced St. Bonaventure and Robert Morris, 2-0 and 4-0 respectively. A pair of familiar faces, senior co-captains Shannon Fraser and Kara Ishikawa, led the Red offense, notching a pair of goals each.
“The captains have really stepped up,” McLeod said. “They have done a great job with their leadership.”
Meanwhile, in goal, junior Katrina Matlin and newcomer Jessica Lebo needed to make only two saves apiece to earn the shutouts for Cornell.
Overall, the Red controlled the pace of play throughout both contests, out-shooting its opponents 43-9 between the two contests. With that dominance in play coupled with the team’s strong practices, Cornell’s confidence is steadily growing.
“It was a little rough at first and we had to work through some stuff,” McLeod said. “Now, everyone’s feeling pretty settled in.”
In facing Buffalo (1-2-1) this weekend, however, Cornell faces a much tougher challenge. The last time these two teams met less than a year ago, the Bulls eked out a 2-1 victory in an evenly matched contest.
Buffalo should provide the Red with the first true test of its defensive progress early in the season. Anchored with its goalkeeper-by-committee, Cornell will have to try to slow a Bulls attack that has averaged over 14 shots as well as a goal-and-a-half per game through their first four contests.
Senior Natalia Crofut, Buffalo’s 12th most prolific scorer of all-time, leads the stampede having accounted for 19 goals and 48 points in her career. Nevertheless, the Red will not have the luxury to focus on just one offensive weapon, as five of the Bulls’ top-6 scorers have returned. Already, Buffalo has shown off its deep talent pool, receiving offensive support from seven different players this season.
Defensively, the Bulls have allowed on average, two goals a game behind the goalkeeping of experienced senior goalkeeper Anna-Lesa Calvert. Sophomore Courtney MacVie, named to the MAC all-freshman team a year ago, is a mainstay among the Buffalo backs.
After facing Buffalo this weekend at home, the Red will continue to enjoy its longest home stand of the season as it welcomes Canisius and Lafayette to town in a week. Cornell begins its Ivy League play another week later, as it welcomes Columbia to East Hill.
Archived article by Scott Reich
Sun Staff Writer