September 11, 2011

FIELD HOCKEY | Offense Stalls on Vermont Trip

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After a fast start to the 2011 campaign, the Red (2-2) lost consecutive decisions by the same final score, 2-0, this weekend at the Catamount Classic in Burlington, Vt.

The field hockey team opened the tournament on Saturday with a game against host Vermont (4-2), getting things started early with a goal by senior forward Allison Barnaby in the 10th minute of action. The Catamounts finished the first half looking much stronger than the Red, holding the advantage in shots, 8-2. UVM also held a slight advantage in penalty corners, 3-2.

Cornell came out much stronger in the second half, equaling Vermont with seven shots and taking five penalty corners — compared to only one for the Catamounts. Despite five of those shots being on goal, the closest Cornell came to scoring was on a shot off the post. Vermont did find the back of the net again in the 60th minute to solidify its victory and spoil senior co-captain Alex Botte’s first start of the season in net. Botte saved six of the eight shots that came her way.

One bright spot for the team was the aggressiveness of sophomore forward Brittany Thompson, who came off the bench to record three shots on goal. No other player had more than one.

“My aggressiveness offensively in the Vermont game and this season in general has to do with my confidence,” Thompson said. “This season I have really started to trust and have confidence in my skills and offensive play. I am more comfortable attacking the circle and getting corners,” she said.

It may have also helped that Thompson was playing before a home crowd.

“My mother grew up in Vermont an hour away from UVM, so it was exciting for me to play in front of a lot of my relatives,” she said.

Sunday afternoon’s game was against tournament champion Maine (6-1). The Red had an even weaker offensive showing — managing only two shots on goal. However, defensively Cornell managed to produce a better performance than it did against Vermont. The Black Bears, averaging 5.6 goals per game coming into the contest, had scored eight goals in a victory the previous day against St. Louis. Despite 27 shots — 16 of which were on goal — the Black Bears managed only two goals against the Red. In goal for Cornell was sophomore Carolyn Horner, who once again was strong in front of the net, saving 14 shots.

“We knew that was going to be a tough game, and although the results didn’t go our way, I think there are some positive things we’re going to take out of the game,” said head coach Donna Hornibrook. “We’re a young team, we’re learning and I think from that standpoint, although we didn’t get the results, we felt like we grew as a team.”

Senior co-captain and forward/midfielder Olivia Boyd concurred with Hornibrook’s assessment.

“I think that over the weekend our performance as a team really improved,” she said. “Even though we didn’t get the W’s we would have liked, we learned a lot about ourselves on Saturday and were able to make changes on Sunday that helped us play a much stronger game.”

Hornibrook was happy with her team’s defensive effort on Sunday, and also believed that facing such a tough opponent offensively was a good experience.

“Our team defense – understanding how to cope with the different looks that our opponent shows us – I thought that was probably the biggest thing we got out of the weekend,” she said.

The Red will open up Ivy League play Saturday at Penn followed by a non-conference game against St. Francis on Sunday at Marsha Dodson Field.

Original Author: Brian Bencomo