The women’s soccer team traveled to Waipahu, Hawaii, over the weekend for the Outrigger Hotels Soccer Shootout, looking for a fresh start. However, the Red traveled over 4,800 miles only to earn the same disappointing results as before.
Two heart-breaking losses made the trip to Hawaii anything but paradise for interim head coach Gretchen Zigante and her squad. On Friday night , the Red (1-4-1) fell to the tournament’s host, Hawaii (5-2-1), 1-0, in overtime. The next night, Cornell was at it again, this time falling 2-1 to San Francisco (3-4) on a goal scored with 2:11 left in regulation.
Despite the setbacks, and what is now a four-game losing streak, the Red remain positive and confident.
“I think a lot of it has to do with luck,” said senior midfielder Whitney Hughes. “We did not have any lapses; we played really well. There was no letdown. We had trouble clearing corners. We can’t really blame it on anything.”
On Friday night, with the jetlagged Red playing at midnight EST, the Rainbow Wahine out-shot the Red 15-3. Yet, until the last shot of the game, each team had put only one ball on target. Junior Mariye Wick registered the only shot-on-goal for the Red.
After a Cornell free kick, Hawaii sophomore Taryn Fukuroku collected collected the ball and led a charge upfield. She moved the ball over to freshman Ambree Ako, who deftly slid a pass for sophomore Kelli-Anne Chang, who nailed a low strike into the net for the winner with just 10 seconds left in the first overtime period.
“It was one of the most beautiful goals I’ve ever seen, and it was just crushing, as we had played very well against a very good team,” Zigante said.
The Red defense was caught in a vulnerable position after overloading the box on the free kick. The Rainbow Wahine took advantage, perfectly executing the counter-attack to come away with a dramatic victory.
“We took a risk and put a lot of people in the box, and they scored on the counter,” Hughes said. “To win a soccer game, you have to take risks. It’s frustrating, but you have to try and win the game.”
The next night, the Red took on the San Francisco Dons. After 70 scoreless minutes, senior Jessica Snyder found classmate Alison McKeown with a corner kick, and McKeown buried her shot from eight yards out to take the 1-0 lead. However, the Dons equalized just eight minutes later when junior Fiona Sullivan bulged the twine — also on a corner.
Then, with less than three minutes to go, the Dons scored on another corner kick. Junior Lauren Tweet headed home the winner. Cornell was out-shot by a wider margin in this match, 21-10.
“These past few games have been really frustrating, but a good experience,” Hughes said. “This is just making us more excited and more energized for Ivy league play.”
Zigante and the Red know that they earned valuable experience playing against some stiff competition, even though the results have been less than optimal for the squad.
“We played quite well,” Zigante said. “We played two strong opponents. We were still generating chances. The lapses were very small, but that was the result. We are all frustrated but we are all looking for the benefits of playing teams that are better than the Ivy league opponents.”