October 25, 2007

Red Travels to No. 19 Orange for Upstate Tie

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Tonight, Cornell field hockey will not be the only school on the field with a Crayola influenced mascot. The Red are slated to tangle with the Orange of Syracuse University at J.S. Coyne Stadium. As any fashion designer or interior decorator would readily admit, red and orange simply do not mix.
However, if history is any indicator of tonight’s outcome, Cornell (7-6, 4-2 Ivy) might have been better off refraining from the 40-mile gaunt up I-81 to take on the 19th-ranked team in the nation. In the head-to-head series, Syracuse (12-5, 3-3 Big East) holds a commanding 25-1-1 lead over the Red.
Last year, Cornell appeared to close the gap slightly by staving off defeat until the final minutes of a hard-fought battle which it ultimately lost, 4-3, in overtime.
Assistant coach Mary McCracken brings a unique perspective to this contest. After serving as the associate head coach of Syracuse field hockey for 14 years, McCracken offers this perspective on tonight’s matchup.
“It’s always been a very close game,” McCracken said. “It’s always an in-state rivalry. It was never a game that we [Syracuse] took lightly. We always had a great deal of respect for Cornell. The games were always close. It’s just one of those natural in-state rivalries that occur.”
McCracken mentioned that a complete turnover of the coaching staff since her departure makes it more difficult to assess Syracuse’s style of play.
“It’s not about me,” McCracken said. “It’s about the players and the game. We are just going to try to continue what we’ve been doing all season. We want to play well. They’re currently in the rankings, so it’s always a challenge. It’s about us trying to play well and play competitively in a game that is a non-conference game.”
This is the Red’s first road contest since its upset victory over Princeton on Sept. 29. However, the joy from Cornell’s victory over Princeton quickly vanished with a disappointing, 1-4 record during its recent homestand. The Red is an impressive 5-1 on the road this season, so the trip down I-81 may be just what the team needs.
Cornell’s victory on Sunday against Brown marked its first victory in the month of October. Senior co-captain Katie Bradshaw emphasized the importance of building on the positive accomplishments in the Red’s latest win.
“I think we’re really happy with our victory over Brown,” Bradshaw said. “We always have a really intense rivalry with Syracuse and especially after playing them so hard last year. We really feel like we have a great chance to beat them. We’re feeling good after the Brown victory, but we’re ready to move on to this game and have a good game against [Syracuse].”
Bradshaw further elaborated on specific areas the team must continue to improve upon in order to return to Ithaca with a victory.
“Before our game against Brown, we were really focusing on getting entries into the circle and getting something out of them whether it be a shot, a penalty corner, or a goal,” Bradshaw said. “And in our game against Brown we had a lot more corners and shots than we had in previous games. So, we’re really building on that and focusing on that for our game against Syracuse.”
Echoing Bradshaw’s sentiments, McCracken reinforced the necessity of creating scoring opportunities.
“We would like to be more aggressive in the circle,” McCracken said. “We’re continuing to work on the same things so we can finish out the season on a good note.”