October 3, 2006

Red Plays Host to Bucknell

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Things just keep getting worse for the women’s soccer team. After a dreadful road trip during which Cornell lost all six games, the Red (1-7-1, 0-2 Ivy) returned home for a pair of games. The first one, however, against Penn this past Saturday, ended just the same as the previous six — with a loss.

The Red is riding a seven-game losing streak, an eight-game winless streak and has scored just four goals in those eight games. Tonight, the Red will look to turn things around when it faces Bucknell (6-3-1, 1-0 Patriot) at 7 p.m. in the friendly confines of Berman Field.

For Cornell, however, no confines have been particularly friendly. The Red has failed to find the back of the net in its two home games so far. Bucknell, however, could present an opportunity for the team to turn things around. Historically, the Red has fared very well against the Bison, owning a 9-2-1 series lead. [img_assist|nid=18725|title=Break through|desc=Break through. Freshman midfielder Emily Kuhn cuts between to two Penn defenders during Cornell’s match against the Quakers this past weekend. (Kuan-Wei Chen / Sun Staff)|link=popup|align=left|width=100|height=78]

The Bison come into Ithaca riding their own streak; this one, however, is of a different variety. Bucknell is enjoying a five game winning streak, including a dramatic 2-1 victory over Colgate in its league opener, as the Bison’s senior captain Shannon Curd netted the game-winner in the 84th minute. Colgate beat the Red earlier this season, 2-1, in Hamilton, N.Y.

The win over the Raiders solidified Bucknell’s status as a solid second half team. The Bison have scored close to two-thirds of their goals after the break this year.

Defensivley, Bucknell has relied on the solid play of keeper Katie Dry who has given up a stingy 0.93 goals per game this season.

Cornell will need a big performance from all of its players if it is to pull off the win tonight. Bucknell has been playing very well of late, and will not be an easy opponent. Sophomore Jennifer Dervarics has been a force on offense, pacing the Bison with 12 points (five goals, two assists). Junior Krista Lee Gentile, who has played in just five games, has shown that she is a true offensive threat, scoring five goals and also tallying one assist. These two players alone have scored more goals than the Red this season.

Cornell, however, knows it will be strong on defense. Led by junior co-captain Leslie Campbell, the Red defense has been effective, and has provided freshman keeper Carlyn Swensen with a layer of security. Swensen has been a valuable addition to the team, and the athletic keeper has a firm hold on the starting spot.

On offense, Cornell is led by the reliable play of senior Caitlin Oliver. Freshman forward Eva Dixon has been a pleasant surprise as well. Seniors Alison McKeown and Jessica Snyder have also shown brilliant playmaking ability for the Red. However, to reverse course and turn the season around, these four will have to convert on their opportunities. Despite tallying 10 shots against Penn last Saturday, Cornell couldn’t find the back of the net.

While the Bisons seem to boast an extra gear for the second half, the Red has struggled to stay with opponents late in games this season. Cornell has been outshot, 67-49, by opposing teams in the second half and leading to eight second-half goals against the Red this year.

Tonight’s game against the Bisons will also provide Cornell with a valuable chance to prepare for a must-win league match against Harvard (1-8-1, 1-1) at the Crimson’s Ohiri Field.