Enjoying its best start since 1992, a red-hot women’s soccer team (5-0-0) will kickoff its Ivy League schedule tonight, hosting Columbia at Berman Field.
Cornell’s impressive start to its 2005 campaign has not gone unnoticed, as the Red recently moved up to the No. 12 ranking in the northeast region. However, with the Ivy League season looming ahead, the team is not taking anything for granted.
“It’s good to get recognition,” said sophomore defender Leslie Campbell. “We all understand that it doesn’t mean too much, though. We were not taking it too seriously – we know that anything could happen out on the field.”
Nevertheless, with the way the Red has dominated opponents lately, especially on offense, the improved ranking is not without good reason.
After winning last weekend’s contests over Lafayette and Canisius by a combined score of 6-0, Cornell has already collected 15 goals on the season – four more than they notched in the entire 2004 campaign.
“Our offense is playing great right now,” said sophomore defender Leslie Campbell. “We’ve been finishing our chances. We’re putting our shots on frame and hitting them hard.”
Leading the attack are senior co-captains Kara Ishikawa and Shannon Fraser, who pace the Red with four goals apiece. Ishikawa is also the primary playmaker, leading the team with three assists.
A handful of other players have contributed as well, including freshman Megan Joerger, who collected her first collegiate goal last Friday against Canisius. Junior Caitlin Oliver has also been a force on the attack and is third on the team with four points and two goals.
Meanwhile, the Red’s goalie rotation of junior Katrina Matlin and freshmen Taylor Hendren and Jessica Lebo have all held strong through the early season.
“We’re confident in all of them,” Campbell said. “They’ve all done a good job as leaders on the field and we feel comfortable with all of them.”
Behind that trio, the Red lays claim to an impressive 0.60 goals against average. Of course, it also helps that the goalies have not had to face too much pressure, having faced only 18 shots on goal through five games. In fact, overall, Cornell has enjoyed a 133-38 advantage in total shots over its opponents.
It will be no easy task, however, to continue this dominance heading into Ivy League play, as the Red knows it has many challenges ahead, including in tomorrow’s match with Columbia.
“It should be an intense battle,” Campbell said. “It was a good fight with them last year and the game should be a lot more intense than our first games.”
Making it even tougher for Cornell, the Lions (4-2-1) will enter the contest on a surge of confidence after a three-game winning streak.
Columbia’s offense has been most impressive of late, scoring three goals in each of its wins over Wagner College and American last week.
Senior Jana Whiting and freshman Jenny Brandt are the foci of the Lions’ attack, having combined for seven goals in the young season. Meanwhile, the Red must not lose track of junior Meghan Hurlbut, who leads the team with three assists and one goal.
Defensively, Columbia has stifled opponents’ offenses, holding its foes to just 7.7 shots per game. Sophomore Allison Vespa has seen the bulk of time in goal, allowing just 1.40 scores per contest.
Archived article by Scott Reich
Sun Staff Writer