September 4, 2007

Field Hockey Sweeps Opening Weekend on Road

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Vegas was not the only place where deuces were wild this weekend. For the second straight year, the field hockey team opened up the regular season with two consecutive road victories over two Patriot League rivals, Lehigh and Lafayette.
Two was also the number of goals scored by the Red (2-0) in each contest, outlasting Lehigh, 2-1, Friday night, followed by a 2-0 whitewashing of Lafayette on Sunday afternoon.
“I think it was a really positive start to our season,” said senior co-captain Katie Bradshaw. “It was definitely what we were looking to do this weekend.”
In Friday’s showdown against the Mountain Hawks, junior midfielder Katlyn Donoghue found the back of the net for Cornell’s first goal of the game at 32:22 of the first half. The goal came off a penalty corner and was assisted by senior Abbi Horn and sophomore Natalie Appleton. Cornell, staked to a 1-0 lead, never looked back.
“I think when we first started out in the game, we were a little nervous,” Donoghue said. “But I think the goal helped calm us down a little for the rest of the game.”
With the butterflies gone, the Red struck again early in the second half after four minutes of play. Junior Alyssa DePaola made it 2-0, becoming the 10th all-time leading scorer in Cornell history with 14 career goals.
“It was a good goal because we were kind of playing antsy,” DePaola said. “It also solidified our lead. Personally, it’s a cool thing to know that I am part of Cornell history and being recognized.”
Junior goaltender Shannon Prescott made seven saves for Cornell en route to a 2-1 victory in the season-opener. The Red also held the advantage over Lehigh in shots taken and penalty corners, 15-10 and 6-4 respectively.
“I think for our first game of the season it was a good performance,” said head coach Donna Hornibrook. “I felt that for the first 20 minutes of the game, we played a little bit nervous … but then we settled in a little bit more. We did enough to win the game.”
The 20 minutes of doubt to which Hornibrook alluded was perhaps the only time throughout the weekend that a Cornell victory was in jeopardy. Sunday’s performance against the Leopards cemented the undefeated weekend for the Red on its first road trip of the season.
A pair of freshmen, attacker Catie De Stio and midfielder Kate Thompson, each notched the first goals of their collegiate careers, leading the Red to a 2-0 victory.
After entering halftime tied at 0-0, the scoring drought was soon shattered when De Stio deposited a pass from junior De Paola into the back of the net at 13:11.
“I just remember getting really excited after [the ball] went in,” De Stio said. “It put us up 1-0, so it was also a turning point in the game.”
Cornell clinched the game seven minutes later on Thompson’s goal as a result of a broken corner. Junior co-captain Belen Martinez was credited with an assist.
“I thought yesterday was a good team effort,” Hornibrook said. “Although two freshmen scored our only goals, they were both set up by upperclassmen.”
Goaltending responsibilities were divided between Prescott and senior Lizze Goldblatt. Without a shot on goal to defend, Prescott did not officially record any saves and Goldblatt saved the only shot she faced during her time in goal.
“I thought we were really good defensively yesterday,” Hornibrook said. “We did a pretty good job of limiting really dangerous scoring opportunities.”
The Red outshot Lafayette, 9-3, and held a significant 16-3 margin on penalty corners for the game.
Although Cornell left the Keystone state with two victories, the squad is aware that there are many more difficult games left on the schedule, including its always-challenging Ivy League opponents.
“This was a great start,” Martinez said. “It gives us confidence, but we still have to take it one game at a time and learn from each one.”