For Cornell’s women’s soccer team (6-0-0, 1-0-0 Ivy), Friday’s 1-0 hard fought victory at home over Columbia (4-3-1, 0-1-0 Ivy) in its Ivy League opener meant a lot more than just any, ordinary win.
“It was not our best game, but the fact that we held it together shows a lot about our team,” said senior co-captain Shannon Fraser. “It was not like this in past seasons.”
“Getting the win is huge,” added freshman goalkeeper Taylor Hendren. “It gives us a lot of confidence. We’ve really established our style of play.”
Sophomore Molly Easterlin’s goal at the 54:22 mark was the difference maker for the Red. Picking up a deflected shot from classmate Kaitlin Dufton, Easterlin produced her second score on the season, curving a shot into the upper right-hand corner of the goal.
Meanwhile, making just her third appearance in net, Hendren earned her second shutout on the season. Overall, the rookie has been a brick wall in front of goal, owning a miniscule 0.37 goals against average.
“I never though it would be like this,” Hendren said. “I just really love playing for this team.” Along with fellow freshman Jessica Lebo and junior Katrina Matlin, Hendren has been part of a three-goalie rotation for the Red this season. Altogether, the trio has been spectacular, holding opponents to just 0.50 goals per game.
Further, although she is under constant competition for playing time, Hendren believes that sharing duties with other two Cornell netminders has only helped her own game.
“I’ve always been competing for spots,” Hendren said. “I know how to play with that pressure and I like having it that way.”
The Red goalkeepers have also been the beneficiary of the team’s ability to dominate play throughout much of its contests. This was no different against Columbia, which is reflected in the large advantages that the Red held in shots (14-7) and corner kicks (10-2).
Nevertheless, the Lions did present Cornell with a much tougher challenge than its previous non-conference opponents had. Prior to this victory, the Red was averaging three goals per game and almost 27 shots per game.
“They presented a hard style to adjust to,” Hendren said. “We did a great job sticking to our plan and doing what we needed to do.”
With that in mind, the Red – off to its best start since 1986 – has not let the early season success go to its head. Instead, the team is keeping in mind that its biggest challenges are still to come.
“Looking around the league, all the games were pretty close and it looks like everyone will be pretty competitive,” Fraser said. “We’re in the best position at this point in the season than we’ve ever been. It’s great to be doing so well, but the toughest part of our season is ahead.”
Archived article by Scott Reich
Sun Staff Writer