October 6, 2008

Field Hockey Sweeps Yale, Lehigh, Kickstarts Offense

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The field hockey team swept a pair of games this weekend, defeating the Yale Bulldogs, 2-1, in overtime on Saturday before closing out the Lehigh Mountain Hawks, 2-0, Sunday afternoon. Leading the way for the Red was sophomore attack Catie De Stio who scored two game-winning goals — including the overtime winner 3:23 into the extra frame — and added an assist. Senior co-captain Abbi Horn also scored a pair, while junior goalkeeper Melanie Jue surrendered just one tally over both games.
“It was a really positive weekend and satisfying for us,” Horn said. “We played our game and got two victories. To come out, play an Ivy game on Saturday, turn around, and grind out a victory against Lehigh on Sunday speaks highly of the team’s maturity this season.”
Against the Bulldogs (2-6, 0-3 Ivy), the Red (6-4, 3-0 Ivy) jumped out to a quick lead, scoring just 37 seconds into the match. After receiving a long upfield pass from sophomore Sara Sanders, De Stio centered the ball to Abbi Horn, who sent the ball past Bulldog netminder Katie Bolling. Cornell kept the pressure up the entire match, outshooting, Yale 24-4, over the course of the 73-plus minute match. Bolling, however, would not surrender another goal through regulation to keep the game close.
The Red defense continued to perform well, stifling any hope of a Yale scoring opportunity, until the 63rd minute. On the only penalty corner of the afternoon, Bulldog junior back Julie Weisner beat Jue to the lower left corner to tie the game at 1 and eventually send it into extra time.
With an important Ivy game on the line, Bolling initially saved Sanders’ shot off a penalty corner, but the rebound came right to De Stio, who would not be denied.[img_assist|nid=32451|title=Sticks ahoy|desc=Sophomore attacker Catie de Stio (12) led the Red offense this weekend, scoring two game-winning goals — including an overtime thriller against Yale.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“Going into the penalty corner, we said that this was our best opportunity,” said De Stio. “The ball just came to me, and I swung and it thankfully went in. It’s great to be 3-0 in Ivy play now, but we all know there are some tough games ahead.”
The win is crucial for keeping the Red’s hope for an Ivy title this season alive. The team has not forgotten its overtime loss at home to Harvard last season, which eventually cost them the 2007 title.
“I was pleased with how well we played overall,” said head coach Donna Hornibrook to Cornell Athletics. “We possessed the ball very well and created more scoring chances than we have all season. And our composure in the circle was outstanding. Any time that you give up just one penalty corner, you have to be happy with the defense.”
On Sunday, the Mountain Hawks (3-8) were looking to end a four-game slide, but instead found themselves faced with a stingy Red defense. While Cornell statistically dominated the game, it was much closer than the numbers reveal. Cornell outshot the Mountain Hawks, 20-3, and held a 10-1 advantage in penalty corners, but had nothing to show for it heading into halftime.
“I thought Lehigh played with a lot of intensity,” Hornibrook told Cornell Athletics. “I like the way we came out in the second half and settled down a little. We moved and possessed the ball much better after halftime. Overall, I’m happy that we created so many chances, but we need to be more productive in our finishing.”
At the outset of the half, De Stio again came through in the clutch for Cornell, tipping in the eventual game-winner off junior Natalie Appleton’s shot in the 43rd minute to put the Red ahead 1-0. Fourteen minutes later, Horn gave the squad a bit of breathing room with an insurance goal on a free hit. Sophomore Kate Thompson shot the ball into the circle, and Horn, the older sister of Lehigh sophomore Claire Horn, sent it past Lehigh goalie Lilia Stefaniwsky to put the Red up 2-0.
Jue needed only one save, in point-blank range, to record her third career shutout.