November 12, 2007

Women's Soccer Recap

Print More

On a cold afternoon at Berman Field, the Red closed the book on a disappointing season with a 2-1 loss to Columbia and a nine-game losing skid. Freshman midfielder Samantha Weiner scored late in the first half to answer an early Columbia goal before Ashley Mistele countered, giving Columbia (8-5-4, 3-3-1 Ivy) the 2-1 lead that it held onto for the entire second half.
The Cornell (4-12, 0-7) defensive unit wilted under the pressure of Columbia’s five-forward attack early in the game, as Columbia senior standout Gudrun Finnsdottir took off down the sideline and crossed it to a waiting Liz deBerardinis, who finished by shooting from her left foot to the opposite side of the goal, past defender-turned-goalkeeper Jen Case.
In the final game of the season, which featured the return of injured freshman forward Natalie Zandt, head coach Danielle LaRoche decided to mix things up among the midfielders and forwards by using several young bench players. It paid off in the 40th minute as freshman midfielder Samantha Weiner scored in the box off a pinpoint pass from fellow freshman Christina Law.
“The goal was the result of a lot of hard work from the freshmen,” said senior midfielder Mariye Wick. “Law and Weiner were working hard in the front; they were going after every loose ball.”
The celebration was short-lived, however, as Columbia immediately re-grouped to score in a fashion nearly identical to the first goal, just 37 seconds later. This time, it was Sophie Riser breaking free and crossing to Mistele, who easily scored from in front of the net.
“We definitely got excited after the goal, and it showed a little bit of a lack of discipline [for us],” Wick said. “We weren’t tightly marked up in the back. … It was a lack of adjustment, but they also did some creative moves up top to get free.”
LaRoche, continuing to make lineup changes to stave off the Lions, re-instituted season-long starter freshman Jodi Palmer at net after the half. Palmer played well in her return, stopping all four shots that Columbia put on goal to keep the Red in the game. Finnsdottir continued to set up scoring chances for deBerardinis and others, but the veteran Red defensive unit, led by senior captain Leslie Campbell, held on.
“We had a meeting after their second goal and we just said, ‘hey, we need to tighten up. … We know we can score now, because we did it before,’” Wick said. “Leslie showed a lot of leadership.”
The Red became even more aggressive in the second half, as the freshman-laden offensive unit attacked the Columbia midfield. Wick, freshman Lena Russomagno, and sophomore Eva Dixon each got multiple chances at goal, but could not put it past Columbia senior goalkeeper Allison Vespa, one of the Ivy League’s best.
“The final game ended really well,” Wick said. “We fought for the win, even though we didn’t get it. … We feel that we dominated the second half, and that our problems are very solvable.”