September 26, 2008

Field Hockey Opens Ivy Road Schedule at Columbia

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The field hockey team hopes to carry over the momentum it gained from last weekend’s two wins as it prepares for this weekend’s games. The Red will be on the road to face Columbia tomorrow and then travel across state lines to play Fairfield University in Connecticut on Sunday.
The matchup with Columbia (4-0, 1-0 Ivy) will present a tough challenge, as the Lions are off to a strong start this season. The last time the Red (3-3, 1-0) faced the Lions, Cornell won 2-1 in overtime.
The Lions are undefeated so far this year, however, and won their Ivy opener last weekend against Brown. Columbia comes prepared with a deep team — the squad’s goals this season have come from seven different players, with top scorer Caitlin Mullins scoring two of those goals.
[img_assist|nid=32113|title=Steee-rech!|desc=Senior Eva Olesky will try and keep the Red undefeated in Ivy play this year. Cornell is 1-0 in conference play.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Both Cornell and Columbia ended last season with identical league records, so it will be interesting to see if the two teams are as evenly matched again this year.
“They’re a lot stronger than they have been in recent years, and they’re off to a really strong start,” said junior attacker Katie Kirnan. “We’re looking forward to a really competitive matchup [tomorrow].”
It is a bit less clear to the Red what it should expect in the game against Fairfield (2-7, 0-0), however, because this will be the first time that the two teams have faced off against one another. The Stags recently came out of five-game slump to defeat Siena, but then fell to Columbia earlier this week in a close 3-2 game. The Stags have played well against some tough teams so far, and the Red will be taking the competition against it seriously.
“They’ve played St. Joe’s, which is a pretty decent team, and had pretty competitive results against them,” said head coach Donna Hornibrook. “We have no doubt that they’re going to be ready for us.”
In both matchups, the Red will draw experience from its games thus far, both from last weekend’s two wins and the team’s early-season losses.
“I think we’ve been adjusting to the various changes that we’ve encountered this season,” Kirnan said. “One of the things we’ve realized is that we really need to work on finishing, specifically in front of a goal, taking as many shots as necessary in order to get that goal.”
The Red followed through on its goal attempts last weekend, scoring a total of seven goals against visiting Penn and Georgetown squads.
“Finishing up with Penn we did a great job,” said senior Eva Olesky. “We really played well as a team, and I think going to Columbia we are definitely taking them very seriously.”
Last weekend’s success will be an asset to the Red, as the team attempts to build upon the momentum and confidence from its two wins and recent elevated play.
“I think [Columbia is] going to be tough,” Olesky said. “I think that every Ivy game is going to be close, but I really feel like we’re preparing and the intensity has been up at practice and we’re really pumped. It’s going to be a close game, but it should be a good one. And we should be able to come out of it with a win.”