At any given time, there are 11 different members of the women’s soccer team on the field – including a number of midfielders who may not always make the headlines. They might not be atop the Red’s offensive leaderboard, but these balanced offensive and defensive players have the ability to make a big difference for the Cornell squad (7-5-0, 1-3-0 Ivy).
“The thing that warms my heart about this team is that they are so unselfish,” said head coach Berhane Andeberhan. “They are willing to do what they have to for the team. They have a very unselfish attitude, and are very supportive of whoever is playing. That has been absolutely tremendous for this team.”
Junior Kaitlin Dufton has started in 11 of the Red’s 12 games, earning a goal and an assist. She is a talented attacking player, and brings important energy to the midfield. Her return from a season-long injury last year has been vital to the team’s success.
“How much we missed her last year is emphasized by how much she’s given us this year,” Andeberhan said. “She’s been a tremendous force on the wing. She has so much energy, and she creates scoring chances for us. Her energy is what gives us a push. She’s not a rah-rah type leader, but she just works so hard that it’s infectious.”
Dufton joins several other midfielders in driving the Red’s well-rounded strategies. The Red is notable for its clean style of playing, and its emphasis on tactics – a “good game of soccer” as Andeberhan calls it.
The midfield also includes freshman Megan Joerger, a key addition to the team.
“She is quite a talent, and she has become very helpful for us,” Andeberhan said. “She comes from a really good program, and has a lot of skill and talent.”
Joerger, who has started 10 games this season, has played at defensive midfielder, working within a triangle offense that Cornell often employs. She also has the ability to begin an offensive drive. The midfield also has veteran experience with senior Kelly Bowen, along with juniors Whitney Hughes and Jessica Snyder. Bowen has scored a goal and an assist this year, and has been one of the Red’s most improved athletes. Hughes and Snyder are balanced players, who have become mainstays for the team.
“They have given us a quite a lot of leadership and ability there,” Andeberhan said.
Sophomore Molly Easterlin has scored three goals this year, including the only goal in Cornell’s 1-0 win over Columbia. She has also started in all of Cornell’s 12 games, providing the squad with an additional offensive threat.
Sophomore Mariye Wick saw a good deal of playing time last year, and she has continued to play an important role in the midfield this year.
“[Mariye] is a very quick and fast player with a lot of skill,” Andeberhan said.
Andeberhan emphasized the importance of the team’s attitude and determination this year, as represented by the midfielders.
“We have come back in several games, and we have had a couple of games where we were clearly overmatched,” Andeberhan said. “Even the most experienced teams have a tendency to let down when behind by one or two goals. [But], we have stayed in there for 90 minutes. They just have so much integrity, and it just makes coaching so much easier.”
Archived article by Ted Nyman
Sun Staff Writer