In what head coach Gretchen Zigante called a “schizophrenic performance,” the women’s soccer team was at times brilliant, but ultimately left the Niagara Soccer Classic with back-to-back losses to Canisius and Niagara.
“We played against two very strong teams,” Zigante said. “We played poorly in the first match, but had a good performance [against Niagara].”
The first game saw the Red (1-2-1) come out extremely flat against a worthy Canisius (2-4) team and walk away 2-0 losers on two goals by the Griffins’ Stephanie Karst.
“We really didn’t come out to play in the first game,” Zigante said. “We set a goal to rebound against Niagara.”
In yesterday’s game, the Red took a 1-0 lead into the half on a goal by senior Caitlin Oliver only to see Niagara (3-2) even the score with a goal from Christina Langrell just two minutes into the second half. As the clock wound down, it looked like the 90 minutes of regulation might end in a tie until Niagara’s Emily Montgomery scored with just over a minute left on the clock to give the Purple Eagles the win.
“Our attitude really changed for the second game,” said senior Whitney Hughes. “We just didn’t get the result we deserved.”
Freshman Carlyn Swensen got the start in goal for the Red and played the entire game. Zigante said that Swensen has emerged as the starting keeper and will likely see the majority of the time between the posts from here on out.
Offensively, Cornell employed the use of a three-forward formation all weekend — consisting of Oliver, senior Alison McKeown, and freshman Eva Dixon — in hopes of producing an offensive outburst and keeping the pressure on the opposing defense.
[img_assist|nid=18188|title=Lone goal|desc=Senior Caitlin Oliver (15) scored the only goal of the weekend for the women’s soccer team, notching the Red’s only tally in a 2-1 loss to Niagara.|link=popup|align=left|width=100|height=73]
“The forwards played great this weekend,” Hughes said. “We have a lot of depth in that bunch and it will be advantage for us in the future.”
McKeown, in her first season with the Red, generated numerous scoring opportunities and is now beginning to mesh with her new teammates.
“My style really fits well with the team,” she said. “The girls have been really welcoming and I am excited for the rest of the season.”
While the trio did well in getting shots on goal — Cornell outshot its opponents 33-24 on the weekend — there are still some problems in getting the ball past the keeper.
“We still need to work on our composure in front of the goal,” Zigante said. “Hopefully, some of our players can become more relaxed and the goals will come a lot easier.”
The defense played solidly all weekend and remains a strong point for the Red. Despite giving up the four goals, Zigante was impressed with her protection in the back.
“We have a lot of confidence in our defense,” she said. “We are not afraid to take risks.”
“Our defense was impeccable, they were tactically strong and none of [the opposing players] were able to stand out,” Hughes added.
Two members of Cornell — senior Jessica Snyder and junior co-captain Leslie Campbell— were named to the all-tournament team.