At this point last season, the Cornell field hockey team had a 1-3, 0-1 Ivy record heading into its third week match-up against eventual Ivy League co-champion, Penn. Knowing it would be a defensive battle throughout, the Red fought valiantly through both halves and the overtime period, before coming up on the short end of a 2-1 contest.
This year, the revamped Red enter the third week match-up versus the Quakers (3-2, 0-1 Ivy) with a 3-1, 1-0 Ivy record and is looking for revenge against its league rivals.
“We understand, like any Ivy game, that this will be a battle because we play in a very balanced league,” said head coach Donna Hornibrook. “However, this team is not afraid to take on any challenges.”
The Red will look to continue the strong play and confidence it has exhibited thus far this season. Up to this point, Hornibrook has emphasized the execution of the team’s game plan and for the players to play to the best of their abilities, while minimizing the focus on results. The product has been a fairly consistent level of play and well-executed games.
“We know we are a young team. If we maintain our confidence, focus on our own performance and execute our own system, then we will put ourselves in a good position,” Hornibrook said. “The real strength of the program is in our teamwork.”
Particularly, the Red will try to duplicate its performance against Columbia last week, in which it emerged with a 3-0 victory. Against the Lions, the Red executed well on its corners, while minimizing its opponent’s opportunities. Continuously throughout this season, the Red has effectively minimized its opponents’ penalty corner chances, making it that much more difficult for its foes to score. Much of the success in that area can be attributed to the consistently strong play of the midfield and defense which have anchored the team and provided a cushion for the offense.
“We are focusing on our game plan,” said assistant coach Beth Walkenbach. “Doing so will limit Penn’s opportunities and enable us to capitalize on our own.”
Throughout the week, the Red has remained focused on its next opponent while being careful not to worry about any particular member of the opposing team. The Red has had to make one significant change in its pre-match regimen this week, however. Because Penn’s field hockey matches are played at historic Franklin Field, where Penn plays its football games and where the Penn Relays are held, the Red will have to contend with a different field surface.
As a result, the ball speed and movement will be slightly different than the Red players are used to. In anticipation of this, the Red has been practicing at Cortland and is heading down to Penn early to better prepare for the match.
The game will be tomorrow at 11:30 a.m., as the Red looks to improve on its 7-20-2 all-time record versus Penn.
Archived article by Jon Hausner
Sun Staff Writer