September 26, 2007

Russomagno, Zandt Pace Women’s Soccer

Print More

The women’s soccer team has seen much of its offensive production come from a pair of players, something that is typical of many squads. The surprising part about the Red is that its point leaders, Lena Russomagno and Natalie Zandt, are freshmen. The duo has accounted for nine of the team’s 12 goals this year, and 20-of-31 points. Head coach Danielle LaRoche is clearly excited about their production, but was unaware of the numbers that the two have put up so far.
“I wasn’t aware of their point total. Wow — that’s pretty impressive,” LaRoche said.
Russomagno’s six goals and 14 points lead the team. Her two assists also give her a share of the team lead with sophomore forward Eva Dixon.
“I’m really surprised how the season has gone. I just came here hoping to get playing time and help the team out in any way. I came in not expecting anything big, but I’m really happy with how everything has worked out,” Russomagno said.
The Wilmington, Del., native’s college career has gotten off to a great start, following an outstanding high school career. She was a two-time all-state honoree and three-time all-conference player for Archmere Academy. Russomagno has already earned a list of collegiate accolades, winning the Ivy League Rookie of the Week award last week. Two of her goals have been game-winners, including the three she scored in her first career hat-trick versus Lafayette.
Zandt, who hails from Irvine, Calif., was a two-time Most Valuable Player for her high school team, and won the Best Offensive Player award in 2006. She has three goals and six points on the year, which put her at second on the team — behind Russomagno — in both categories. She won the Ivy League Rookie of the Week award two weeks ago, and has scored a pair of huge overtime goals that lifted the Red over Hartford and Niagara.
Though each has been very effective, LaRoche points out that the two have very different styles of play. Russomagno is not a very flashy player, but is very confident on the ball and has great speed. Zandt, on the other hand, tends to use quick cuts and a great technical ability to slip past defenders.
In their contest at Bucknell, Russomagno was double-teamed just about every time she touched the ball — a sign that she and Zandt will be given extra attention from the Red’s future opponents.
“It will get increasingly difficult for them because of their early success. I’m sure our Ivy League opponents will do their homework on us, and that Lena and Natalie will be two of the players that show up in their scouting reports,” LaRoche said.
Despite the increased emphasis opposing defenders will certainly put on them, LaRoche believes that both of them will continue to see success as the Red breaks into its Ivy League schedule this Friday at Penn. She noted that strength will be their biggest issues as the competition heats up, something that all freshmen see. LaRoche, however, sees potential for both of them to have extremely successful careers at Cornell.
“They have the potential, down the line, to earn All-Ivy recognition. If they can stay healthy and major-injury free, the sky is the limit for those two.” LaRoche said.