October 31, 2007

Bradshaw, Goldblatt Lead Field Hockey

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As field hockey enters its final week of play, seniors Katie Bradshaw and Lizzie Goldblatt are attempting to lead the Red to its first Ivy League championship in seventeen years. Perched below the first place Princeton Tigers (11-4, 5-1 Ivy), Cornell (9-7, 4-2 Ivy) currently sits in a three-way tie for second place in the conference, along with Harvard and Penn. Cornell could advance to first place this week with a victory over Dartmouth and a Princeton loss to Penn. The Red hold the head-to-head tie breaker over the Tigers after defeating them 4-3 on Sept. 29th.
“I think this season has been really great,” Bradshaw said. “We’ve had some big wins this season that we haven’t had in the past — like beating Princeton. We have never beaten Princeton in my career until this year. Beating Syracuse was also a big accomplishment.”
Goldblatt, who shares time with junior goalkeeper Shannon Prescott, offered her insights as the Red’s last line of defense.
“It’s definitely the most mature team I have played with at Cornell,” Goldblatt said. “We can play a really hard game one night, like the Penn game, which we lost in overtime. Or, if we win a great game, we don’t get too excited. We don’t really harp on losses or wins. People are really looking beyond that — at the big picture. We’re not congratulating ourselves too much for huge wins against teams like Princeton and Syracuse, but we’re not berating ourselves for losses that shouldn’t happen.”
According to Bradshaw, things were not always this rosy for the Red when she first came into the program.
“I did play a lot my freshman year,” Bradshaw said. “I was the starting sweeper. … But I think the biggest difference is our team went 3-13 during my freshman year and we only won one game in the Ivy League. Since then, we’ve improved a lot. Now we’re currently second in the Ivy League. We’ve broken the record for the most number of wins in a season. There’s been a lot of changes going from having the worst record ever to having the best record ever.”
Bradshaw and Goldblatt also share a common bond with head coach Donna Hornibrook as all three were new to Cornell field hockey in 2004. Together, these three individuals have formed the backbone of this program and have provided leadership and assistance to the rest of the squad. In fact, Bradshaw earned co-captain honors this season along with junior defender Belen Martinez.
“It’s definitely not an easy job,” Bradshaw said. “There’s balancing the relationships between the coach and the team. There’s pressure to keep the team motivated and focused. It’s been a really great season. I couldn’t have asked for a better season as a senior. To be as successful in the league as we have been is really exciting. It’s good going into the last week of the season and knowing you have a chance to win the Ivy League title. We’re just going to focus on doing our job in our game against Dartmouth. Hopefully, everything will work out in our favor.”
In a comparable leadership role, Goldblatt’s calming influence on the team cannot be overlooked.
“I realized somewhere along the line not to take field hockey too seriously,” Goldblatt said. “I am not one of the players, who is going to be crazy, intense, and really serious all the time. I just can’t play my best that way. I definitely learned that. That’s a major part of why I think I was able to play all four years. I just keep it in perspective. A lot of younger players tend to just blow it out of proportion. It’s important to have fun and not lose sight that it’s just a game. It’s not life or death.”
It is perhaps Goldblatt’s easygoing attitude that has motivated her to put on the oversized pads game after game and return season after season.
“I think the thing I am most proud of is just staying with it,” Goldblatt said. “We came in and there were eight girls in our class originally. There are times when you’re like, ‘I’m giving up so much to do this. I’d rather just forget it all and save myself the grief and the pressure.’ I am most proud of just staying with it.”
Regardless of how the rest of the season transpires, there is life after field hockey for these two soon-to-be graduates, but the lessons they have learned from this game will remain with them forever. Although they will not meet in a field hockey venue ever again, their paths may cross one day in a court of law as both aspire to earn acceptance to law school.
“Actually, I am in the process of applying to law school right now,” Goldblatt said. “So, hopefully, someone will let me go to their law school. I am thinking I would like to go into criminal defense, but I figure I will find out later. In a lot of ways, [field hockey has taught] me humility. You come in as a high school senior and think you are [spectacular]. I distinctly remember the first half of practice I came into and one of the seniors took a chip shot right at my face. That put me in my place and I realized it was a whole new ballgame. Like I said before, keeping things in perspective and learning how to be a graceful loser and learning how to be a classy winner [is another life lesson field hockey has taught me]. In the Ivy League, this is especially true because any team can win depending on who shows up to play that day.”
Similarly, Bradshaw is also looking to use the life lessons field hockey has taught her and apply the same principles in front of a judge or grand jury some day.
“Hopefully, I will get a job,” Bradshaw said. “I am looking at eventually going to law school. I think there are tons of life lessons from playing field hockey and just being on a team. I have definitely learned a lot from being a part of [this program].”