The women’s soccer team has only three seniors on this year’s roster, but those veteran players have made unmatched contributions to the squad. Kelly Bowen and co-captains Kara Ishikawa and Shannon Fraser have been key leaders for the Red, both on and off the field.
“They have a unique type of leadership – unassuming, extremely hard-working, and so unselfish,” said head coach Berhane Andeberhan. “They are three of the most humble people I’ve ever met. A lot of the chemistry on the team is due to them.”
Ishikawa and Fraser have been among the Red’s offensive leaders over the last few seasons, and Bowen ranks as one of the team’s most improved players.
But, Andeberhan noted that the seniors’ importance to the team is far greater than their work on the field.
“The seniors are generous enough that when a freshman is playing well, they will champion them,” Andeberhan said. “They will advocate [more playing time] for their teammates, or suggest something for the general benefit of the team.”
All three seniors have contributed to the Red in their own way. Bowen joined the team as a walk-on, and eventually earned more time on the field. This year, she has started in a number of games, and the midfielder netted her first collegiate goal against St. Bonaventure.
“Kelly came in as a walk-on, and she didn’t play much her first year,” Andeberhan said. “But, she had a very positive attitude. As a result, she continued to improve.”
Ishikawa was the team’s offensive leader in 2004, and was named to the All-Ivy second team. She currently leads the Red in both goals and assists this year. She also posted four goals and three assists in 2003.
Fraser missed much of last year due to injury, but her return this season has helped energize the Red’s offense. Back in 2003, the forward from Hamilton, N.Y., recorded seven goals and five assists, and was an All-Ivy honorable mention. Fraser is also a two-time member of the District I CoSIDA Academic All-America team.
The seniors’ leadership began back in the winter and spring, – when the three players were still juniors – as they helped take charge in Cornell’s offseason conditioning. Andeberhan credits that preseason work with helping the team get ready for this year, and for the future.
“Their leadership has so many facets to it,” Andeberhan said.
This year, the seniors have shared their knowledge of the game with the underclassmen, and have brought about camaraderie on the squad.
“They help the freshman on and off the field,” Andeberhan said. “They get together with everyone for lunch. – They’ve helped the freshman blend in very quickly.”
Archived article by Ted Nyman
Sun Staff Writer