November 11, 2008

Red Wins, Finishes As Ivy Runner-Up

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The field hockey team concluded the 2008 campaign on a high note, defeating Dartmouth, 3-2, on Marsha Dodson Field. It was a bittersweet win for the senior class, as the historic victory set new school marks for conference wins (6) and overall wins (11). Yet with the win, the Red (11-6, 6-1 Ivy) still failed to bring home a coveted title, finishing in second place in the Ivy League behind No. 11 Princeton for the third consecutive season.

“I am extremely proud of the effort and the way our team moved the ball today,” said head coach Donna Hornibrook to to Athletics. “I feel like this might have been our best performance of the season. It’s great to cap a fantastic season with a record-setting win and to send our senior class off with another victory.”[img_assist|nid=33474|title=On a mission|desc=Junior attacker Kelley Kantarian had three shots against Dartmouth on Saturday, one of which found the net for a score.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]

Indeed, the final collegiate contest for seniors Stephanie Brownstein, Abbi Horn, Belen Martinez and Eva Olesky, marks the 38th overall victory for the winningest class in Cornell field hockey program history.

“We accomplished so much as a class,” said co-captain Martinez. “We helped turn the program around, set new records, and came together as a team. Beating Dartmouth (6-11, 4-3 Ivy) was very important to prove that Princeton didn’t bring us down and Cornell will be a contender in the Ivy League for a while to come.”

Leading the way for the Red (11-6, 6-1 Ivy) was none other than sophomore attacker Catie De Stio, whose two goals and one assist capped a career yearseason that saw De Stio lead all players with 10 goals, 6 assists, 26 total points, and 4 game-winning goals. Junior attack/midfielder Kelley Kantarian also scored, while Brownstein was the lone senior to record a point, as she assisted on De Stio’s game-winner.

“I’m happy to have scored, but we all played a great game,” said De Stio. “Our defense was strong, and it’s about coming together as a team. So many players make important contributions each game; that’s what drove us this season.”

In goal, junior Melanie “comeback kid” Jue recorded three saves to pick up her 11th win of the season. Jue closed out a remarkable season in which she returned to playing field hockey after giving up the sport to play ice hockey here at Cornell. At the opposite end, the Big Green’s freshman goalie Meagan Vakiener recorded the loss while stopping eight shots for Dartmouth (6-11, 4-3 Ivy)..

Cornell controlled play for much of the game, outshooting Dartmouth 21-8, yet the Big Green held the advantage in penalty corners, 9-4, including 6-0 in the second half.

Kantarian put the Red on the board at the 7:33 mark of in the first half. Vakiener initially saved a shot by Horn, but De Stio managed to collect the ball out of a scrum in front of the goal to feed Kantarian, who sent the ball past Vakiener and put the Red up, 1-0.
Under three minutes later, the Red would strike gold again, capitalizing on one of its four penalty corners of the half. Sophomore Sara Sanders fired on goala shot on goal, only to be denied by Vakiener. Yet similar to the circumstances surrounding the first goal, the inability of the Bigthe Green defense to effectively clear the ball allowed De Stio to come back immediately with another shot, lengthening the lead to 2-0.

However, justJust a 1:20 later, at the 11:33 mark, the Big Green would get on the board for the first time with after senior co-captain Ashley Hines connecteding on a Dartmouth penalty corner. Dartmouth sophomore Virginia Peisch recorded her 15th assist of the season, setting a school record. She would later assist on Dartmouth’s second goal, to close out her year with 16.
Ten minutes into the second half, with Cornell still leading 2-1, De Stio scored the last goal forgame-winner for Cornell, the game-winner. De Stio sent the ball far post off of aa centering pass that flew across the goal mouth of the goal from Brownstein. The insurance goal pushed the score to 3-1.

With time expiring on the clock, Dartmouth was awarded a penalty shot, and Hines again scored with an assist going to Peisch. It mattered little,did not matter, and as Cornell walked off the field with a 3-2 victory.

“I’m proud that our team is part of history,” De Stio said. “The 2008 season is in the record books for most wins and most conference wins, but overall, it was just great to finish with a win for our seniors.”