March 11, 2008

After Rain Delay, Red Defeats Pride

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In the first matchup between the two teams this season, Hofstra trailed the Red by two goals with just 15 minutes left to play. Unfortunately for the Pride, that game, which started on Friday, was called off due to weather and rescheduled for yesterday. The Red apparently did its homework over the weekend, as it scored early and often in the encore performance between the two teams, a 14-3 Cornell victory.
Freshman attacker Libby Johnson opened the scoring for the Red (4-0, 1-0 Ivy). Less than three minutes into the contest, Johnson received a pass from senior attacker Courtney Farrell and planted the ball in the back of the net. Senior midfielder Noelle Dowd and Farrell both scored on free position shots in the next four minutes to stake Cornell to a quick 3-0 lead. Hofstra finally managed to get on the scoreboard with just 1:20 left in the half as Pride midfielder Corinne Gandolfini twisted her way past the Red defense and scored to send the teams into halftime with a score of 4-1.
The first half was a relatively low-scoring affair, marked by the inability of both teams to finish near the goal. Hofstra especially had trouble capitalizing on its scoring opportunities; the Pride took the ball all the way down the field on several occasions, but came up largely empty-handed. Although Cornell’s goaltender, junior Renee Hughes, totaled nine saves in the contest, Hofstra’s low score was due more to the Pride’s inaccurate offensive shooting because of the pressure that Cornell applied. [img_assist|nid=28715|title=Eye to eye|desc=Senior middle Noelle Dowd (left) squares off against a Harvard defender. Dowd scored a hat trick plus one, as well as an assist, against Hofstra.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“I think that our defense was outstanding today, especially with [junior Renee Hughes] in the goal cage,” said head coach Jenny Graap ’86. “She had an outstanding day. She had a lot of ground balls. The whole defense deserves credit because they really were smothering on the Hofstra shooters and on the feeders and they were really limiting their opportunities so I was extremely pleased with the entire defensive effort. That’s back-to-back games now where we’ve held Columbia to two goals and Hofstra to three goals so I think that speaks highly for the defensive effort.”
The Red’s defense continued to prove strong in the second half, and its attackers started to click as well. Cornell went on a 5-0 scoring run to open the third quarter with all five tallies coming in a three-minute time span.
“We talked about our attack, adjusting our shot placement and thinking first before we shot the ball,” Graap said. “Their goalie was coming up with a lot of saves in the first half. … I think we had something like 18 shots in the first half and four on the scoreboard so we knew that we were generating good offensive opportunities. We just weren’t finishing with well-placed shots. So we talked about changing where on the cage we were shooting; we’d predominantly been shooting low in the first half and the second half we switched it up and started to shoot middle and high and I think that was a big ticket towards our success in the second half.”
Senior midfielder Katherine Simmons opened the half with a goal off of an assist from Farrell, who then showed her agility with two nice moves and a goal of her own. After the Red won the ensuing draw, senior attacker Charlotte Schmidlapp scored an unassisted goal which was followed 42 seconds later by Dowd running the length of the field to tally a score of her own.
Farrell had an outstanding game — five assists and three goals. Her assists total fell one short of the school record for assists in a game.
“She has a real knack for seeing the opportunity and finding the open player and then of course finishing on that,” Graap said. “She had some nice feeds to [Dowd], those two have been connecting very, very well all season.”