Last season, the Cornell women’s soccer team craved home field advantage and thrived on it. The Red finished the year with a winless 0-8 record on the road, but earned four victories in its eight home matches. The Red kicked off its 2008 season last weekend with one win and one loss and is looking to improve this weekend as it opens up its home field for the first time this year.
With its first two home games of the season slated for this weekend, the Red hopes that Berman Field provides the same benefits and tremendous atmosphere that was so conducive to winning last season.
“There’s nothing like playing on Berman,” said assistant coach Allison Cowan. “The girls feel comfortable. Especially now that they just spent a lot of money resurfacing the field so the quality of the field is going to be outstanding thanks to the athletic department. Just being at home, having home fans there and having family and friends there.”
Cornell knows that St. Bonaventure boasts a multitude of speedy forwards and has been focusing its efforts in practice accordingly. Cowan believes that the execution of the Red’s own deep roster of forwards will be the key to the game.
“St. Bonaventure, who we saw last weekend, has fast forwards,” Cowan said. “As long as we can handle [them] up top defensively, I think that we should match up against them really well because I don’t think that they will be able to handle what we have in the attack.”
This week in practice, the coaches decided to divide the offense and the defense to reinforce some of the more technical aspects of the game.
“We are really focusing on communication and organization in the back, and offensively, just technically transitioning quickly into the attack, getting crosses into the box and really finishing and capitalizing all of our opportunities,” Cowan said.
Cornell will once again be looking towards sophomore tri-captain Lena Russomagno, who has two goals already this season, to lead the team offensively. However, Cowan pointed out that this year’s team has tremendous depth up front and is looking for goals to come from all directions.
“We just have so many attacking personalities and girls that are fantastic going one on one that I think we should overwhelm them in the attack,” Cowan explained.
Cowan recognized that the Red will need to improve on last weekend’s performance on both offense and defense if it hopes to be victorious this weekend. She notes that both the players and coaching staff are still discovering exactly which lineups and groupings of players have the most chemistry.
“I think we may have started a bit slow [last weekend],” Cowan said. “But our team chemistry is very strong and we started clicking once we got a few goals under our belt in the first game. Because we just started this last weekend, it will be a matter of figuring out the right combinations of personalities on the field working together.”