October 24, 2006

Field Hockey Looks for Win Over Syracuse

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Red vs. Orange. No, it is not a debate between the Crayola board of directors; instead, the field hockey team will face its in-state rival Syracuse tonight.

After snapping a seven-game losing streak to Brown on Saturday, the Red (5-7, 3-3 Ivy) will look to win its second in a row against the Orange, in its third to last non-conference match of the year.
[img_assist|nid=19149|title=Road block|desc=Sophomore Katlyn Donoghue (left) trips up a Princeton player during the Red’s loss on Sept. 30. (Robert Bonow / Sun Photo Editor)|link=popup|align=left|width=97|height=100]
Syracuse (8-9, 2-4 Big East) has had its share of struggles lately, losing three out of its last four. The Orange was shut out in all three of those losses, losing conference games to Villanova, Providence and Connecticut, all ranked at the time. The losses mean that Syracuse will not participate in the Big East tournament for the first time since 2003.

“The Big East is a tough conference,” said head coach Donna Hornibrook. “Syracuse is always a strong opponent; they have had an up and down season, but they are a very good team and will be tough.”

Syracuse is led by senior defender Michelle Sola, who has eight goals and three assists this year. Last year, Sola scored 11 goals and notched five assists, earning first-team All-Big East honors. The Orange also has a weapon in sophomore forward Alison Babbitt. Babbitt did not record a point in her rookie campaign, but has broken out this year, leading the team with 10 goals and 21 total points. The Red will also have to deal with the 2005 Big East Goalkeeper of the Year, Heather Hess, who has posted a 1.99 goals against average and a .702 save percentage this season.

“[Sola] has done a lot of scoring for them,” Hornibrook said. “[Syracuse] scores on a lot of penalty corners, so we don’t want to give up any. We also want to play good defense and get shots on goal.”

Cornell clinched its 1-0 win over Brown on Saturday when sophomore forward Brenna Gulotta scored on a breakaway with less than seven minutes remaining in the game. It was Gulotta’s third goal of the year, tying her for the team lead with classmates Katlyn Donoghue and Helena Haas.

“[The win] felt really good,” Gulotta said. “Everyone was really excited, and it was really fun. It was a good feeling.”

The other star of the game for the Red was sophomore goalie Shannon Prescott, who recorded 10 saves for her first career shutout. Cornell won the game despite being out-shot 19-7. Brown also had a 16-1 advantage in penalty corners.

“Statistically the game didn’t go in our favor,” Hornibrook said. “It is ironic that we have had some games in the past few weeks that we dominated and haven’t won, but we were able to get back on track with a game like this.”

Despite the win, Cornell realizes that it still has some things that it needs to work on in practice before the Syracuse game.

“One of the things that I want to do, and I feel like we haven’t done this, is to have two consecutive, consistent good halves,” Hornibrook said. “We play really well in parts of games, but we need to play well over 70 minutes. We have four games left, and our objective is to finish strong and to become a more consistent team down the stretch.”

Last year, Syracuse edged Cornell 1-0 in a game played at Syracuse’s Coyne Field. In that game, the Orange’s Paige Sullivan scored the lone goal on a pass from senior Ashley Fry early in the first half. Prescott made four saves for the Red. Syracuse leads the all-time series 24-1-1. Cornell’s lone win came in 1983, in Syracuse’s Carrier Dome.