September 15, 2008

Women’s Soccer Fails to Score in First Homestand

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The women’s soccer team made its first two appearances at Berman Field this weekend, but came away empty-handed. The Red fell against St. Bonaventure on Friday night, 3-0, and then dropped last night’s game against Lehigh by a tight score of 1-0.
Despite the Red’s depth at the forward position, Cornell (1-3) was unable to find the back of the net in either game this weekend.
On Friday night, St. Bonaventure notched its first goal of the game 19 minutes after kick-off when the Bonnies used a corner-kick set to their advantage as forward Anna Cunningham scored her first of two in the game. The two teams battled hard through the remainder of the half, as 45 minutes came to a close with the score remaining at 1-0.
However, in the second half, the Bonnies were able to extend their lead. In the 55th minute, St. Bonaventure forward Courtney Bosse belted a shot on net from the middle of the field that just made it passed the outstretched reach of Cornell goalie Megan Bartlett to put the Bonnies up, 2-0.[img_assist|nid=31715|title=Staying in touch|desc=Sophomore midfielder Natalie Zandt (7) was part of a Red offense that failed to score against either opponent this weekend.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Just four minutes later, Cunningham beat Bartlett once again with a shot from just 10 yards out that rattled off the post and in to push the Bonnies’ lead to 3-0, the final score of the match.
Despite the lopsided score, the Red played the Bonnies much tougher than the score would indicate, as Cornell outscored their opponents 18-11 on the day.
Cornell freshman defender Sidra Bonner felt that her team started playing to the Bonnies’ style of play and neglected the Red’s own gameplan.
“I know that in the two games this weekend, we kind of fell into the other team’s rhythm and we were keeping the ball in the air and that plays to our disadvantage because we are not the biggest team,” Bonner said. “Once we start possessing the ball, playing the feeds and just going one on one, then we will be fine,” Bonner said.
Looking to significantly improve on Friday night’s showing, the Red returned to Berman field yesterday to face off against Lehigh at 5 p.m., with head coach Danielle LaRoche starting freshman goaltender Kelly Murphy.
Murphy and Lehigh keeper Lauren Mains kept the game scoreless through the first half. In the second half, however, both teams started driving shots on the net from all areas of the field.
The Mountain Hawks finally opened up the scoring after pressure at both ends of the field when Danielle Fritz was able to chip a cross from Hannah Cochran past a sprawling Murphy.
Both goalkeepers faced nine shots on net and Fritz’s goal ended up being the only shot that got through either keeper, as the game finished with a 1-0 Lehigh victory.
The frustrated Red forwards were once again unable to score for the third straight game, dating back to last weekend. Bonner explained that the Red’s corps of young, inexperienced offensive talent is learning and improving as the games go on.
“We have a lot of young players and a few sophomores, so I think right now it is hard finding the chemistry so they are just getting used to each other,” Bonner said. “I think that [the offense] will definitely get better as the season goes on.”
Bonner continued to explain that there is a significant adjustment that must take place for her and for the Red’s other freshmen players in order to adapt to NCAA play.
“These are more athletic girls, taller girls, faster girls — It is just more of an athletic game,” Bonner said. “Tactically and skill wise, we are a very talented group of freshman, we just have to get adjusted to a new speed of play and the more physical side of the game.”
“I like the idea of suiting up in our white uniforms and going out and playing in front of our friends, our roommates,” Bonner added. “There is just a sense of pride and our families are all there. I definitely like the atmosphere playing at home. … I think that once you lose a couple of games in a row, that is when the true character of the team comes out, so I think how we rebound next weekend will tell a lot about how our season is going.”