Even though Spring Break is still seven months away, the women’s soccer team will travel to tropical paradise in Hilo, Hawaii, to participate in this weekend’s Outrigger Hotel’s and Resorts Soccer Shootout. More than tans will be on the team’s minds, however, as the players hope to snap a three-game winless streak on this trip.
Tonight — or rather this afternoon in Hilo — the Red (1-2-1) will take on host team Hawaii (4-2-1), and then tomorrow, Cornell will battle San Francisco (2-4) in the round-robin style competition.
[img_assist|nid=18313|title=In the clear|desc=Junior co-captain Leslie Campbell clears the ball during Cornell’s 0-0 tie with St. Bonaventure on Sept. 6. (Ryan Dunn / Sun Staff)|link=popup|align=left|width=77|height=100]
“We will face two very strong opponents, and we will definitely benefit from that,” said interim head coach Gretchen Zigante.
Hawaii comes home for the tournament after a third-place finish at the Four Points Sheraton Cats Classic in Arizona. The Rainbow Wahine are the defending WAC champions and return four all-conference players, including sophomore goalkeeper Kori Lu, who has allowed only three goals all season.
San Francisco is led by junior striker Fiona O’Sullivan who registered a hat-trick in a game against San Jose State earlier this month.
Many of Cornell’s seniors made the same trip to the Aloha State when they were freshman and are excited to go back for the competition, in addition to the sunshine.
“These are two of the top teams we will play all season,” said senior Jessica Schindler. “We need to focus on getting two wins so we can gain some momentum going into the Ivy League.”
Because of the time change, the Red will have to be especially mentally prepared in order to play at its top level.
“A bunch of us dealt with it freshman year and we came out and played great,” Schindler said. “If we stay focused, we will be successful.”
Also distracting the Red will be the beautiful weather, which has apparently already left Ithaca for the season.
The team will get some time to enjoy themselves, but Zigante hopes that she can keep her players from spending too much time on the beach and help them stay hydrated and prepared for the games.
“We are there for the games,” Zigante said. “We will definitely let [the team] do some of the fun stuff and really enjoy the experience, but we need to stay focused.
Because Ivy play begins next week, this is the last chance for Cornell to fine-tune its strategy before competing against league teams.
As has been the case for the past few games, scoring is still the main concern for the Red.
“It’s not for lack of chances, but we are just not finishing,” Zigante said. “Given that we are four games in, we should start to put them in the back of the net.”
Because of the immense amount of talent Zigante feels she has this year, she will continue to juggle her lineup over the course of the trip to find the best 11 players.
“We have a number of people that can contribute,” she said. “There are not a set 11 starters.”