October 29, 2007

Women’s Soccer Extends Losing Streak to Seven Games

Print More

Cornell dropped its seventh straight affair on Saturday at Princeton, 1-0. The Tigers (8-5-1, 4-1 Ivy), who occupy the Ivy League’s second position after losing to league-leading Harvard last week, scored in the ninth minute to take the lead and the eventual win.
The Red (4-10, 0-5), who was a heavy underdog going into the matchup, played a conservative scheme as it attempted to slow down All-Ivy and Canadian National team midfielder Diana Matheson, arguably the most dangerous player in the conference.
Despite tagging Matheson with an extra defender, it took her only nine minutes to get on the board. As the defense was collapsing onto a penetrating Vicki Anagnostopolous, she dished to Matheson, who fired a shot off from her right foot for an easy goal. It was an all-too-familiar sight for the Red, who has given up early goals in nearly all seven games of its losing skid.
Both teams played evenly in the cold, rainy conditions after Matheson’s goal, however. The Red seems to have found its goalkeeper, albeit a little late. Head coach Danielle LaRoche gave senior Jen Case a shot in net after the goal, sitting the struggling freshman Jodi Palmer. Case, who had never seen significant action in her four seasons at Cornell, came up with a big save on Matheson later in the game. That save, along with another in the second half, kept the Red within striking distance.
The score remained 1-0 until there were 15 minutes remaining, when Cornell switched to its more customary two-forward offensive lineup to try to knot it up. Surprisingly, the stagnant offensive unit mounted several threatening attacks in the closing minutes. Freshman Lena Russomagno, the leading goal-scorer for the Red, led the charge with two long strikes and senior midfielder Mariye Wick added another. Princeton goalkeeper Maren Dale was up to the task, however, and the Tigers held on for the win.
Echoing the sentiments of her head coach, Russomagno said that the team played with passion and energy on Saturday.
“It was really close, and I’m really happy with the heart that we put into this game,” she said. “Shots-wise and possessions-wise, it was pretty even.”
LaRoche, as she has often done this season, emphasized the mental aspect of the game in last week’s practices. The Red had to block out its injury problems and offensive woes, she said, to be successful for the rest of the season.
“The two injured players [freshman Natalie Zandt and sophomore Brenna Mcguire] are really affecting us, but we have to stay offensive-minded,” Russomagno said. “We focused on not letting it affect us mentally — no negative thoughts.”
“This was a big step in finishing the season on a positive note. … If we play like we did today, we can easily play well and get a win against Dartmouth or Columbia.”