October 10, 2007

W. Soccer Drops Fourth Straight

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The women’s soccer team’s recent woes continued this weekend at home against Harvard (7-3-1, 1-1), where it dropped a crucial Ivy League matchup, 1-0. The loss was the Red’s (4-7, 0-2 Ivy) fourth straight defeat of the season.
The two teams played evenly for most of the first half, with Red freshman goalkeeper Jodi Palmer playing some of her best soccer of the season in stopping all three shots that came her way. The Harvard defense stifled the Red offensively for most of the half and allowed only two shots on goal.
The scoreless tie was broken in the 59th minute of play when two of Harvard’s top freshmen hooked up for a goal. Kerry Kartsonis played a ball to Gina Wideroff into the penalty box, where Wideroff beat Palmer by shooting into the top right portion of the net. The Red was not happy with the goal, claiming that Wideroff was offsides.
Cornell then took the initiative offensively, mounting several downfield attacks to try to even the score. One of the most promising attacks was by freshman Lena Russomagno, who broke away from the Crimson defense and within six yards of the goal with only the goalkeeper to beat. But a Crimson defender was able to tackle Russomagno from behind, averting the goal opportunity. The Red bench was upset that no foul — and hence a penalty kick — was called on the play.
Head coach Danielle LaRoche did not comment on the officiating, saying only that it “played into the result” and that the officials “may not have caught some things.” Russomagno, however, was not afraid to share her opinion.
“The referee was really bad,” she said. “We thought the goal they scored was questionably offsides too.”
Russomagno also claimed that the Red played a good game in the losing effort.
“We played really well overall,” said Russomagno. “The first half was really even … and at the end of the second half [on the breakaway] she took me out from behind.”
The Red has not scored a goal in its four-game losing streak. The offense has been slowed by a number of injuries to attacking players such as freshman Natalie Zandt and sophomore Eva Dixon, who have been in and out of the lineup. Zandt played minutes in the Harvard loss while Dixon has sat out the Red’s last two games.
“When we’re not healthy, it is hard to win games,” LaRoche said. “Our attacking players are not 100 percent. … We’re going to work on the offense in practice this week.”
The Red will depend on some of its more experienced players to rejuvenate a struggling offensive unit that was buoyed by freshmen Russomagno and Zandt earlier in the season.
“[Senior midfielder] Mariye Wick does a great job running the attack … and [sophomore forward] Kathleen Bubrick has a wonderful shot,” Russomagno said. “We just need to give them opportunities.”
Russomagno, however, believes that the Red’s offense has also stalled because of its tough Ivy League competition. According to her, the key to offensive success in the Red’s future is to convert scoring chances into goals.
“We don’t have to change anything,” she said. “We just need to finish what we start.”