October 7, 2005

Women's Soccer Returns to Ivy Play Against Harvard

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Returning to its Ivy League schedule, the women’s soccer team (6-3-0, 1-1-0 Ivy) will look to get back on the winning track tomorrow morning as it takes on Harvard at Berman Field.

“It will be a good game,” said sophomore Leslie Campbell. “We always get pumped up for Harvard. We just need to play our game.”

The Red was stellar through the first part of the season, matching its best start since 1986 and racking up six straight wins to open the 2005 campaign. However, tough times have fallen on the Cornell squad as of late, as with the team dropped three consecutive contests.

Like its first loss of the season to Bucknell, the Red’s latest defeat this past Tuesday came in heart-breaking fashion. Leading Colgate, 1-0, after a first-half goal by senior co-captain Kara Ishikawa, Cornell appeared to be cruising toward victory.

However, beginning at the 74:35 mark of the second half, the Raiders used a quick three-goal burst in less than 10 minutes to snatch the win out from the Red’s clutches.

“We were definitely disappointed,” Campbell said. “We’re playing well for three-quarters of a game but we let up for 10 to 15 minutes and that’s when we get in trouble.”

Even more frustrating, the Red seemed to be in control of play throughout much of the contest, out-shooting Colgate, 19-15, and holding a 12-8 advantage in shots on goal. Nevertheless, the Raiders’ goalkeeper Luisa Miller did an outstanding job in preventing Cornell from breaking the game open, giving Colgate the opportunity it needed to win.

In fact, overall the Red offense has been slowed as of late. After burning teams at a clip of three goals per game through its first five contests, the Red’s offense production has fallen substantially, with just four goals in its last four matches.

Much of the drop-off in scoring can be explained by Cornell’s opponents’ increased focus on shutting down Ishikawa, the Red’s primary offensive weapon. Just a week ago, the Penn defense hounded the senior all over field and kept her from taking any shots in the 2-0 Quaker win.

Defensively, Cornell’s recent performances have also fallen off from its early season standard. The Red has allowed eight goals in its past three contests after holding opponents to only three total scores in the six games prior to that stretch.

Cornell, however, should have a golden opportunity to turn this trend around against a Harvard squad that has struggled on offense the entire season. The Crimson (5-3-2, 0-1-1 Ivy) has only managed a 0.60 goals per game average for the season.

However, the Crimson’s defense has been picking up the slack. Goalkeeper Katie Shields, who has played every minute of every game for the Crimson, holds a 0.48 goals against average and a lofty .898 save percentage.

Even with this challenge ahead of them, Cornell is still optimistic about its chances this weekend. “We’re all very excited to get back to Ivy League play,” Campbell said. “We need to get the win and get back on the right track.”

Archived article by Scott Reich
Sun Staff Writer