The Red field hockey team will travel to Pennsylvania this weekend to take on Lock Haven today, and then continue on to Lewisburg, Pa., to play Bucknell tomorrow.
Lock Haven (2-2), which entered the season as a favorite in the Northeast Conference (NEC), defeated Cornell (1-1) 3-1 last season. This will be the Red’s second matchup with the Lady Eagles, who boast a strong offense led by senior Blair Wynne. The squad’s defense is anchored by Alanna Lewis, an All-American last season, and a two-time NEC Player of the Year. She also leads the Lady Eagles in scoring this season, with eight points and three goals. Lewis, the reigning NEC Defensive Player of the Year, captained a stingy defense that allowed only six goals last year.
Though the Red has a long history of playing against Bucknell, the Bison are under a new coach this year and are therefore a bit of an unknown this early in the season. However, Bucknell has a roster chock full of eight seniors and returns all but one of its starters. The team’s defense is led by senior co-captains Amanda Faust and Steph Graf. Faust has 60 career points with 24 assists, and has tacked on six more points this season. Graf, who led the Patriot League in defensive saves for the past two seasons is a three-time member of the All-Patriot League second team.
After playing No. 19 Albany tough in a loss and running away from Siena in a win, the Red has shown it’s capable of handling tough competition. Cornell lost to both Lock Haven and Bucknell last season.
“The approach we take this week will be the same as we take every week during the rest of the season,” said head coach Donna Hornibrook, “I think we’re pretty balanced.” [img_assist|nid=31644|title=Watch the feet|desc=Sophomore midfielder Kate Thompson (right) reaches for the ball against an opponent from Columbia. The Red won the Sept. 8, 2007 contest 2-1 in overtime.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
With three goals from three attackers, the Red offense has been fairly well-rounded. And with newcomer Melanie Jue, a junior, earning Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors last for her 19-save performance against Albany last weekend, Cornell can shut other teams down as well.
“We’ve got people who can put the ball in the net, we’ve got a strong midfield, we’ve got an experienced backfield, and we had great goaltending last weekend,” Hornibrook said.
Unlike previous years, the Red is getting an extra week of non-conference play this season. This means more time for the team to prepare and more chances to play together.
This game will be another opportunity for the for the team to get to know its strengths before going into regular conference play.
“We’ll have an extra week under our belt, which at this point in the season is significant,” Hornibrook said.