October 18, 2006

W. Soccer Aims For Third Win

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After ending a couple of ugly streaks, the women’s soccer team will look to keep the momentum going and begin a different kind of streak today against Buffalo (6-8-0, 3-4-0 MAC). The Red (2-9-1, 1-3-0 Ivy) are in Buffalo, N.Y. to take on the Bulls, just four days after upsetting Yale (6-6-1, 2-2 Ivy) by a 3-1 margin. With the victory over the Bulldogs, the Red ended a nine-game losing streak, a 10-game winless streak and picked up its first win since its season opener.

“It’s completely turned around our season,” said senior midfielder Whitney Hughes. “It was pretty hard, all those losses, and it was really tough on us as a team. This completely changed everything.”

The Red, however, will face a Bulls squad that has been tough at home (3-1). Today also marks the final home game of the season for the Bulls, and as such, they will honor their two seniors, Jessica Roesch and Lindsay Guarino, before the game. The Bulls are a tough team that likes to play physically.

[img_assist|nid=19008|title=Reaching for more|desc=Senior midfielder Whitney Hughes (5), who has started 11 games for the Red this season, lunges for the ball during the Red’s 3-1 win over Yalelast Saturday.|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=76]
“It won’t be a technical game like against Yale; they are very tough,” Hughes said. “It will be more like the other league games that we played, so if we play our game and play tough as well, we will be fine.”

Bulls Freshman Caitlin Higgins has been a force on offense, and is tied for the team lead in goals (four) and assists (three). Stopping Higgins is priority number one for junior captain Leslie Campbell and the Red defense.

“The cold weather happens every year,” Hughes said. “It’s tough, but were used to it. It happens every year. It’s that time of the season, so you just have to deal with it.”

Despite the recent wet weather, rain is not in the forecast for today. Playing at Buffalo, regardless of the conditions, poses a different type of challenge; the Bulls play on Astroturf, which is very unusual for soccer.

“The Astroturf will be difficult, since we haven’t done that since my sophomore year,” Hughes said.

“It will be tough, but we’ll adjust.”

To have success against the Bulls, the Red forwards must continue to play offense like they did against Yale. Prior to the Yale game, Cornell had scored just five goals in its last 10 games. Freshman Eva Dixon, senior Caitlin Oliver and senior Kaitlin Dufton broke through to give the Red three goals en route to the 3-1 win.

“It should be a lot easier. Now that we are scoring goals, we’re not going to stop,” Hughes said.

Indeed, Cornell will turn to the familiar foursome of Oliver, Dixon, senior Jessica Snyder and senior Alison McKeown to generate its offensive chances. McKeown and Oliver have played well lately, and it was their playmaking and finishing ability that led to two of the Red goals last weekend. Oliver leads the Red with four goals.