October 25, 2006

Women’s Soccer Hopes for Strong Homestand to Finish the Season

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After a lopsided loss at Brown three days ago, the women’s soccer team returns to Ithaca to begin a three-game homestand that will close out its season. Albany (5-12-1, 2-6-0 America East) is in town tonight to close out its own season with a match against the Red (2-11-1, 1-4-0 Ivy).

“It’s obviously been a disappointing season in terms of results, but our actual performances haven’t been disappointing,” said interim head coach Gretchen Zigante. “The mood on the team is positive and high, and we are really looking forward to being home and playing these last three games to the best of our abilities. … We still feel that we have the ability to cause a couple of upsets, for Princeton or Dartmouth.”

[img_assist|nid=19183|title=w soccer|desc=Senior midfielder Jessica Schindler winds up to kick the ball during the Red’s 3-1 win over Yale on Oct. 14.|link=popup|align=right|width=80|height=100]
Cornell lost a tough 4-1 match at Brown on Sunday, but will get a chance to rebound tonight against a Great Dane squad that is riding a three-game losing streak and has not scored in any of those games. In addition, the Great Danes have lost five of their last six games coming into this evening’s clash.

“We’re going to try and be threatening early and keep the pressure up the whole game,” Zigante said.

Tonight’s game, therefore, represents a great opportunity for Cornell to gather some momentum heading into the season’s final games. The Red, however, is also no stranger to losing streaks. After ending a nine-game losing streak back on Oct. 14 with an upset win over Yale, Cornell has dropped two matches in a row, and still has just that one win in its last 13 games.

The parallels between the two teams do not end there — both teams are led by first-year head coaches seeking to turn around and rebuild their respective programs. Albany head coach Mary-Frances Monroe, like Zigante, also had a successful collegiate playing career.

Zigante plans on beginning the game with most of the starting unit on the field, but will likely switch to a younger lineup for the second half. In net, sophomore Taylor Hendren will get another start, as freshman Carlyn Swensen remains sidelined with a shoulder injury.

“Taylor will again start in goal,” Zigante said. “She did a fair job at Brown for us and everyone has confidence in all of the goalies. She seems to step up in the games a bit.”

To beat Albany, Zigante believes the Red’s midfielders will have to control the pace of the game and maintain an aggressive tempo throughout the contest. The midfield trio of seniors Jessica Snyder and Alison McKeown, and junior Mariye Wick has performed exceptionally as of late, and Zigante has taken note.

“Alison McKeown and Mariye Wick had outstanding games against Brown, and if they can play at that level, they will just dominate,” Zigante said.

On defense, junior captain Leslie Campbell will be charged with shutting down Albany’s youthful attack. Led by Diana Barrera and Jaclyn Rosada, who are tied for the team lead in goals (six), the Great Danes attack has struggled at times this season.