September 4, 2007

W. Soccer Swept in Opening Weekend

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The women’s soccer team got its season underway this Labor Day weekend with a pair of losses in New York City, losing 5-1 to Hofstra and 4-0 to St. John’s. The weekend also marked the debut of rookie head coach Danielle LaRoche.
Against Hofstra (2-0) on Friday night, Cornell (0-2) was outmatched from the opening minute. Hofstra sophomore Edel Malone, the 2005 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Rookie of the Year who sat out all of 2006 with knee problems, returned to NCAA play to head the ball in off a free kick only 3:17 into the game. She kicked off a scoring run that saw the Pride hammer the Red with four straight goals before the 60 minute mark — three in the first 20 minutes. In all, four different Hofstra players got on the board in the victory.
Sophomore Kathleen Bubrick provided the lone goal for the Red at 63:01, scoring unassisted from 25 yards out after the Red forced Hofstra into a turnover deep in its own territory.
“[It] came out of an opportunity created by all of the other girls on the field,” Bubrick said. “The forwards and midfielders brilliantly pressured Hofstra’s defense and forced them to give the ball away just outside of their own 18-yard box … the ball dropped right in front of me.”
Late in the first half, sophomore Eva Dixon gave a spark to the Red by striking the crossbar from far out. Hofstra junior Liz Guise capped the scoring one minute before injury time, scoring a textbook header off sophomore Diane Caldwell’s corner kick.
Hofstra, a perennial contender in the CAA, has a preseason ranking of No. 4 in the Northeast Region for 2007. Bubrick thought the Red felt intimidated going into the game.
“We are a much better team than we give ourselves credit for,” Bubrick said. “I don’t think that Hofstra far surpassed us in talent. It certainly was not our best game, but I think the difference came in each team’s mentality … they played with far more confidence than we did.”
Against the Red Storm (2-0), picked to finish fourth in the Big East Conference and ranked No. 5 in the Northeast Region, the Red defense was similarly embarrassed. St. John sophomore Kelly McConnell shot at the top-right corner of the goal to score just two minutes into the contest. Senior midfielder Krystle Jalalian followed with a goal in the 33rd minute and an assist to freshman Raelynne Lee in the 46th before scoring again at 51:10.
In both contests, the Red was plagued by a defensive breakdowns and an inability to develop sustained possessions. However, Cornell head coach Danielle LaRoche did see some positives from the opening weekend.
“When we had the ball, we did a very good job with it,” LaRoche said. “We just couldn’t keep the ball because of defensive pressure. We have a new defense … many of the goals that were scored were because of our errors. The coaching staff has a better idea of where we are and where we need to go now.”