September 8, 2009

Inexperience Dooms W. Soccer

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The women’s soccer team could not utilize its home field advantage and went without a win this weekend, earning instead a scoreless tie against Binghamton on Friday and a 3-1 loss to Niagara on Sunday.
“I thought we played good soccer but it was disappointing because we made some rookie mistakes that caused us to give up goals. We really showed inexperience,” said head coach Danielle LaRoche.
Cornell (0-1-1) put in a strong effort on Friday to compete against the Binghamton (0-2-1) squad, but the Red’s effort fell short in a heart-wrenching game that went into double overtime. In the first half, the Bearcats out shot the Red 4-1, keeping sophomore goaltender Kelly Murphy constantly on her toes as she was forced to make crucial saves in order to keep the opposition from scoring. Cornell was able to regain its momentum during the second half, attempting 15 shots, four of them hitting the goal frame.
“It was a good first game to get the kinks out of our system,” said sophomore defender Sidra Bonner. “Since we have so many new players on the field, it was good to get back into the swing of things.” [img_assist|nid=37874|title=Shots fired|desc=Sophomore goalie Kelly Murphy came up with six saves in the Red’s scoreless tie against Binghamton on Friday.|link=node|align=left|width=336|height=455]
Ultimately, the Red led 15-10 in terms of total shots on goal but was unable to score on any of its attempts. Overall, Murphy played an outstanding game, making six saves to earn her second career shutout.
“I was really excited how our defense was able to hold them so that they couldn’t score on us. I was pretty happy with the game,” Murphy said.
In addition, the game marked the Red’s first with the aid of its eleven new freshmen.
“We have a really solid group of returners and in the spring, we all became really close,” Bonner said. “I think eleven new freshmen coming into the group of returners keeps the team’s chemistry really strong. We are a really committed group of players who want to have a great season, so once we integrate the freshman into our style of play, only good things will happen.”
On Sunday Cornell tried to forget about the disappointment of Friday but still couldn’t get past Niagara. In the first half, the Eagles wasted no time in setting up the ball and attempting to get an early lead, netting a goal two minutes into the game.
The Red was then able to successfully respond a minute and a half later; evening up the score after sophomore defender Sam Wright took a strategic corner kick that sailed to Bonner for the goal. This marked Bonner’s first career goal and Wright’s first career point.
Niagara continued to put a lot of pressure on Cornell’s defensive line throughout the duration of the game and ended up out-shooting the Red 16 to13. In the face of such pressure sophomore goalie Megan Bartlett played an impressive game, making three saves.
The Eagles would put an additional goal on the scoreboard at the end of the first half, before finally tallying their third goal on the game resulting from an Eagles free kick.
LaRoche tempered any lingering disappointment with some words of encouragement to her young squad.
“We are good soccer players,” LaRoche said. “We keep the ball, we possess the ball, we are actually a better technical soccer team then both opponents we had this weekend, so we are lacking in confidence and compassion. If we can get the compassion in focus with how well we play, we can have a positive season.”
Even though the Red couldn’t finish with a victory this past weekend, Murphy said the women are looking forward to it upcoming matchups, each new competition an opportunity for redemption.
“We always go out to win and we go out with a winning strategy and hope we can fight as hard as we can,” Murphy said.