After three consecutive disheartening losses, the field hockey team has found its rhythm again, with a 2-1 victory against Harvard on Sunday and a 3-1 win versus Bucknell on Tuesday.
“Our trend has been that after a big performance, inconsistency has been a factor,” said head coach Donna Hornibrook. “Coming off the Harvard game, we had a strong performance versus Bucknell, which showed we could pull off two strong matches in a row.”
With the victories, Cornell (7-4, 4-1 Ivy) surpassed its win total for the past two seasons combined and has guaranteed itself a winning league record for the third time in school history. Sunday’s victory snapped the Red’s five-game losing streak against the Crimson. Over that span, Harvard (5-6, 1-2 Ivy) held a 19-1 advantage in goals and had shutout the Red in its prior four meetings.
Despite Harvard setting the tempo and controlling much of the action, the first half was scoreless, as a result of a solid defensive performance by the Red and two big saves by sophomore goalie Lizzie Goldblatt.
The Red got on the board first, five minutes into the second half, when freshman Mandy Malzberg took a pass from senior co-captain Blair Corcoran and redirected it past the Harvard goalie for a one-goal lead. That lead was short-lived, however, as just a minute later Jane Sackovich converted on one of Harvard’s nine penalty corners on the day – compared to the Red’s two – to tie up the game.
With Cornell failing to break the tie on a couple of missed opportunities over the next 15 minutes, Corcoran managed to net a goal of her own, at the 56th minute mark, after taking a pass from junior Lindsey Moyer. Up by one, the Red managed to hold out for the remainder of the half to secure the victory.
“We respected, maybe over-respected Harvard, as they carried play in the first half. At halftime we came to the realization that we hadn’t played the best game, but we were still tied,” Hornibrook said. “So, we stretched out Harvard, playing more of a horizontal game – passing the ball side to side – as opposed to a vertical one. Our speed really came into play and we took advantage for the rest of the game.”
Harvard held a 6-2 advantage on shots in the first half, while Cornell took control, 8-5, in the second. All 10 of Cornell’s shots were on goal, compared to just three for Harvard.
Throughout the season, after big victories, Cornell would often incur a “let-down” game, in which the team would get off to a slow start or never really find its rhythm. Knowing this, the team vowed not to let that happen against Bucknell (4-8) at home on Tuesday night.
“We were focused on getting off to a good start,” Hornibrook said. “[Freshman] Alyssa DePaola scored two goals in the first 11 minutes of the game. That really set the tone for the match.”
The Red set the tempo early and controlled the contest from the outset. The team managed 12 shots in the first half and held a 17-8 advantage for the game.
DePaola got the Red its first goal five minutes in, after taking a cross from Malzberg and placing it into the goal. Just six minutes later, DePaola would find the net again, this time after picking up a loose ball, running 35 yards down the field with it and blasting it past the Bison goalie from 15 yards out.
Bucknell would cut the Red’s lead in half at the 14th minute mark, when Alex Kyzmir got a rebound off a penalty corner and put it past Goldblatt. That would be all the scoring the Bison would get on the day. In the second half, Malzberg would score off of a pass from DePaola to add an insurance goal for the Red, making the final score 3-1.
The Red will resume play this Sunday, when it hosts UMBC at 1 pm at Schoellkopf Field.
Archived article by Jon Hausner
Sun Staff Writer