November 1, 2006

Red’s Seniors Reflect On Their Last Season

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When the women’s soccer team takes the field this weekend for its season finale, it will be the last game in a Red uniform for members of its senior class. This weekend, the Red (3-12-1, 1-5-0 Ivy) will say goodbye to its seven seniors with a Saturday match against Dartmouth (11-4-1, 5-1-0 Ivy).
“They have been great this season, really setting an example for the rest of the team,” said interim head coach Gretchen Zigante. “We always go out there not just wanting to win, but to win it for the seniors, and this weekend will be no different.”
“It means a lot. It’s been a great few years, and it’ll be really sad to see it end,” said senior Whitney Hughes. “It’ll be a really hard day but at the same time it is very exciting and we want to have a good game. I have had a great experience at Cornell. It will definitely be tough.”
This year’s senior class, led by Hughes, Caitlin Oliver, Jessica Snyder, Alison McKeown and Mira MacLennan, has been an indispensable part of the Red both on and off the field. McKeown and Oliver are tied for the team lead in goals and are first and second in points, respectively.
Snyder, a midfielder, has been having an exceptional season, and has been a tour de force for the Red. She has proven to be a skillful playmaker, passer and — on occasion — a finisher as well.
“Jessica Snyder has been having a phenomenal season and has really played her best,” Zigante said.
Oliver has become a dynamic, versatile forward. On the defensive end, the captain MacLennan has been indispensable, and along with junior Leslie Campbell, has been the backbone of a sturdy Red defense.
“Mira is a mainstay,” Zigante said. “She is the kind of player you will only get once every four years, so she is a huge loss.”
Hughes still fondly remembers making the team as a freshman, and points to the winter break training trips to Hawaii as her most memorable experiences. On the field, Hughes has developed into a consistent, solid performer for the Red.
[img_assist|nid=19392|title=w soccer|desc=Seniors Alison McKeown (8) and Jessica Schindler (12) chase the ball during the Red’s 1-0 loss to Princeton last Saturday.|link=popup|align=right|width=100|height=75]
“Whitney Hughes has had a great season, and she has really been a constant, mainstay for us,” Zigante said.
For classmates Kaitlin Dufton, Katrina Matlin and Jessica Schindler, it will also be an emotional day, their last in a Red uniform.
“The last game is really an emotional thing,” Zigante said. “There is a great deal of determination on this deal, and the whole team wants to play well for the seniors.”
While the Red seniors are sad to leave, they are confident that their program is being left in good hands and that the rebuilding process will continue under Zigante.
“We have a great group of girls that are staying behind and I think the team has a lot going for them,” Hughes said. “I think the underclassmen will really step up and it will be very exciting a couple of years from now.”