September 5, 2008

Field Hockey Opens Season Against Albany, Siena

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The field hockey team is a perfect 4-0 in season-openers under head coach Donna Hornibrook, but No. 19 Albany will look to spoil this unblemished mark tomorrow afternoon on its home field. The Red will remain in Albany Sunday evening and battle Siena in its second game of the weekend.
Albany (1-1, 0-0 AEC), picked as the preseason favorite in the America East Conference, trails Cornell in the head-to-head series, 3-2, but defeated the Red, 5-1, last season. The Great Danes are led by senior midfielder Michelle Simpson and senior goalkeeper Ashley Ross. Simpson is a two-time all-conference player who earned second-team All-America honors last season.
Ross, who finished fourth in the nation with a 1.14 goals-against average, provided a solid last line of defense for the Great Danes in 2007. [img_assist|nid=31444|title=Ballin with Belen|desc=Senior co-captain back Belen Martinez (21) will face a test in No. 19 Albany’s offense.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Cornell’s offense will be led by a senior co-captain Abbi Horn, who tallied five goals and four assists last year. Senior co-captain Belen Martinez, a two-time Regional All-American and first-team All-Ivy selection, anchors a Red defense that allowed fewer than 11 shots per game in 2007.
The good news for the Red is that it was an impressive 2-1 against ranked teams last season, but the bad news for the squad is that its lone loss was to Albany.
Cornell has never lost to Siena, however, winning all three of the squad’s matchups.
The Red triumphed over the Saints in a 4-2 victory last season, which was Hornibrook’s 200th career win. Siena, coming off a 2-12 rebuilding year in 2007, is still searching for its first win of the season after falling, 5-1, to Colgate last weekend.
The Cornell defense must focus on shutting down junior midfielder Kristin McGorty, the team’s active scoring leader.