October 23, 2006

Field Hockey Stops Losing Streak, Beats Brown

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Vince Lombardi once said, “Winning isn’t everything; it is the only thing.” The Red broke a long and arduous losing streak with a nail-biting, 1-0, upset over Brown on the road Saturday afternoon.

Sophomore goaltender Shannon Prescott stopped 10 shots to earn her first career shutout and classmate Brenna Gulotta scored unassisted late in the second half to seal the win as Cornell (5-7, 3-3 Ivy) snapped a seven-game skid.

[img_assist|nid=19125|title=fh|desc=Sophomore Brenna Gulotta (left) scored the game-winning goal in Cornell’s 1-0 upset vicotry over Brown on Saturday, the Red’s first victory over the Bears since 1998.|link=popup|align=left|width=97|height=100]
“[To get a win] was great,” said head coach Donna Hornibrook. “We feel like we haven’t done everything perfectly in every game, but we feel like we had played well enough to get some wins down the stretch. It was good to finally get rewarded.”

Gulotta’s heroics came in the 68th minute. She stole the ball in Brown territory and streaked toward goal on a breakaway. Gulotta went stick side and fired a shot past heralded Brown junior goalie Kristen Hodavance for the game-winner.

“There was a free hit in the back,” Gulotta said. “I ran down the field on a breakaway, and the ball went through the goalie’s legs.”

Brown (7-5, 3-2 Ivy) dominated the early first half, getting four penalty corners and firing off seven shots in the first 15 minutes. But Prescott did not let up any goals, and the game became a battle for field position. Toward the end of the half, Gulotta had a breakaway opportunity, but Hodavance made a tough save to prevent a goal.

After Gulotta’s goal put Cornell up late in the second half, Brown initiated an offensive onslaught. The Bears had four straight penalty corners at the very end of the game, but Prescott and the defense were able to prevent an equalizer.

“[Prescott] played very well; she was very calm,” Hornibrook said. “That was the most complete game that I have seen her play, so I give her a lot of credit. Defensively, [the past few games] we felt that the penalty corner defense wasn’t as consistent as it needed to be. We made it a focus point this week and it turned out to be significant.”

Cornell’s win also helped the Red play spoiler to Brown’s hopes of an Ivy League title. Brown entered the weekend one and a half games out of the league lead, but Cornell’s victory, combined with Princeton’s 3-1 win over Harvard on Saturday, gave Princeton the outright Ivy title. It is Princeton’s 12th title in the last 14 years. Despite Princeton’s clinching, Hornibrook still gives Brown credit.

“Brown is a very good team, with a good balance, good forwards, and a good midfield,” she said. “They are second to Princeton in the conference, so this was a good win for us.”

During its losing streak, the Red had played several games in which it statistically dominated its opponent. In a strange twist, Brown completely dominated the statistics on Saturday, but Cornell still won the game. The Bears outshot the Red 19-7, including 11-2 in the second half. Brown also had a huge advantage in penalty corners, getting 16 while Cornell only had one.

“We have one more Ivy game left this season,” Gulotta said. “I want to finish really strong and play every game to the best of our ability.”