With a grand total of eight goals all season in 2009, who would have thought the Cornell women’s soccer team would be an offensive juggernaut this quick in 2010? That’s exactly what the Red was this weekend, however, as it matched its total 2009 offensive output in just the first two games of the season. The Red dropped its opener, 2-1, to Delaware Friday night, but rebounded in outstanding fashion two days later, defeating Delaware State, 7-0.However, the 0-0 first half of the Delaware game was more reminiscent of the 2009 team than of the offensive force the Red has since become. It looked as if the Red’s offensive struggles would continue as it mustered only one shot on goal in the first 45 minutes, but the Red has had too much experience with offensive struggles to start worrying so early.“It was too soon to start worrying,” sophomore Megan Crowell said. “We’ve had rough patches of finishing, but I really think that going into the first half of the first game I wasn’t at that place to worry yet. Last year, it was an accumulation of game after game of us having that struggle. But it was too soon to worry.”The Blue Hens broke through first in the 53rd minute after a Delaware player got in behind the Red defense for a breakaway. In the 72nd minute, Cornell’s Kristina Jackson notched the equalizer and her first career goal off freshman Rachel Nichol’s first career assist. Delaware scored a minute later off a sliding effort that just beat goalkeeper Megan Bartlett, though, and the Blue Hens held on for the win.Despite the loss, the Red remained positive going into Sunday’s tangle with Delaware State.“It’s especially tough to start off the season with a loss after such a close game, but we were definitely fairly optimistic going into Sunday’s game,” Crowell said. “We played very hard and we weren’t too down and we weren’t going into the game with a feeling of defeat.”The leaky defense of Delaware State was just what the doctor ordered for the Red offense, as the Hornets had already let in 11 goals in its previous three matches.The Red exploded for 28 shots, 16 on goal, compared to three shots and one on goal for the Hornets. Crowell and freshman Mary Keroack both scored a pair of goals. Nichols added a pair of assists for a total of three on the season, while sophomore Xandra Hompe had a goal and an assist for Cornell. Junior Sidra Bonner and freshman Caedran Harvey added a goal each. Despite its offensive outburst, the players are careful to not become overconfident.“It obviously feels wonderful –– everyone loves to score,” Crowell said. “But I don’t think the team is getting too caught up in a single victory and feeling that since we’ve reached last year’s scoring total we’re done for the season. It’s definitely a nice morale booster, but it’s not something that we’re going to rest our hats on. It’s a lot of goals and you feel good about it, but it’s nothing to celebrate too much over quite yet.”
The Red will look to build upon its success this past weekend with more goals in its upcoming matches this week.“Right now we’re pretty confident,” Bonner said. “Granted, we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. We’re looking to build upon this victory going into St. Bonaventure and Seton Hall and hoping to score some more goals and come away with a couple shutouts as well.”
Many of the veterans are welcoming of the fresh to the season. An influx of new freshman talent has both increased the Red’s talent on the field and instilled a new mindset off the field.
“We have a lot of great incoming players and it’s definitely refreshing to have new faces and new talents. It’s a fresh start and an opportunity to move forward from here,” Crowell said.
In addition, the increased competition from the sheer size of the roster (28 players) has created added pressure to perform well.
“With just the sheer amount of people on our team, everyone is competing for playing time,” Bonner said. “And that’s really driving home the message that in order to play, you need to score.”
Original Author: Jimmy Xi