September 20, 2005

Offense Boosts W. Soccer

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What a difference a year can make.

Just five games into its 2005 season, the women’s soccer team, featuring a dominating offense, has already scored 15 goals. Meanwhile, last season, the Red managed 11 goals – for the entire year.

“It has been a huge improvement,” said senior co-captain Shannon Fraser. “I didn’t expect us to be playing this well.”

En route to its perfect 5-0 start this season, Cornell’s offense has overshadowed its opponents, to say the least.

Having out-shot its foes 133 to 38, the Red has been a nightmare for opposing goaltenders. And though the season is still young, Cornell is netting almost two and a half more goals per game than its 2004 edition.

Fraser and fellow senior co-captain Kara Ishikawa have acted as the catalysts for the potent attack. Already having tied her season-record mark with four goals, Ishikawa paces the team with 11 points. Even more impressive, her scores have come on only 11 shots resulting in a stellar .364 shooting percentage.

Meanwhile, Fraser, who accounted for only one goal a season ago, has matched her fellow captain with four scores of her own. She opened up the scoring against the Red’s most recent opponent, Lafayette, with a pair of scores. Appropriately, she received assists on both scores from Ishikawa, who leads the team in that category with three.

“[Ishikawa] has set up a lot of our opportunities,” Fraser said. “She is a really great player.”

The two captains, though, are not without an impressive supporting cast of attackers.

Junior Caitlin Oliver has already notched two goals in the young season. Furthermore, junior Caitlin Dufton, senior Kelly Bowen and sophomore Mariye Wick have added a goal and an assist apiece. Meanwhile, freshman Megan Joerger has already picked up her first career goal and looks to be a bigger offensive threat in the future.

“Everybody that has been coming in has definitely added another dimension,” Fraser said. “There is never a letdown. Everyone is contributing.”

The captain credits much of the turnaround from a season ago to the groundwork that was laid last winter and spring after a disappointing 2004 campaign.

“We worked really hard in the off-season. We saw some signs of what was to come this past spring. Everybody was fit and prepared heading into this season.”

Also, having played together for a few years now, she believes that the experience that the teammates have together has played a major role in the team’s success.

“We are really getting along well,” Fraser said. “We’ve been playing together for awhile and we can read each others’ moves.”

A new formation, featuring five midfielders, has been another plus for the Cornell squad.

“It has allowed us to be a bit more offensively-minded,” Fraser said. “Our mentality has shifted.”

Next up, the Red will try to continue its hot streak as it opens its Ivy League season against Columbia this weekend in Ithaca.

Archived article by Scott Reich
Sun Staff Writer