September 11, 2011

W. SOCCER | Battle of the ’Nells Ends in Narrow Home Loss, 1-0

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On Saturday afternoon, the Cornell women’s soccer team (0-4) lost a close game to the Bucknell Bison (2-3) at Berman Field in Ithaca. The Red retained offensive control and a strong defensive line throughout the game, but could not put the ball past Bucknell goalkeeper Sandita McDermott in the shutout, 1-0.

“I was really, really encouraged by our play this past weekend,” said junior forward Megan Crowell. “Though the result wasn’t what we wanted overall, we really dominated the game. We enforced our own style of play on our opponent rather than giving them the opportunity to control the game.”

The first close attempt by the Red’s attack occurred 11 minutes into the first half. Freshman midfielder Kerry Schubert received a pass from sophomore forward Alysse Godino in the box and fired away, hitting the near post. Schubert was one of three starting freshman, including Clair MacManus at midfield and Sydney Cetrullo on defense — the most rookies the Red has begun play with this year. Soon after Schubert’s try came an uncontested shot from Cetrullo, which McDermott swatted out of the air. In total, the first-year members of the Red accounted for seven of the team’s 19 shots; Bucknell managed only four shots in the 90-minute contest.

However, at the 22:42 mark, the Bison scored the game’s only goal. The ball was put in play by Buknell senior forward Megan DeGennaro, three-quarters of the way to the Red’s goal. The throw in flew over the heads of the Red’s defense to sophomore forward Liz Dwornik, who claimed the assist. A crossing pass to sophomore forward Chelsey Garkowski was enough of an angle change to beat the Red’s senior keeper Kelly Murphy on the right side. The goal was the first of Garkowski’s career for the Bison. Saturday’s game was the second in a row in which Dwornik and Garkowski both earned points. Last week, Garkowski brought home an assist when the Bison defeated rival UMBC. McDermott accumulated seven times as many saves as Murphy, good for her second shutout of the season. The Red also out-performed its opponent in corner kicks and fouls — seven to two and eight to seven, respectively.

Another near-miss for Cornell occurred in the 36th minute as junior midfielder Xandra Hompe placed a left-side corner kick in range for senior defender Sidra Bonner to head it just wide of the far post. Cornell’s aggressiveness picked up with the added pressure of the clock in the second half, but Bonner’s header ultimately represented the Red’s best scoring opportunity of the game. At the one hour mark, MacManus recovered an airborne ball to send Cornell on the attack once again. Schubert received a pass form Gadino, but shot high — just above the crossbar. The Red was unable to turn additional chances into points on the scoreboard during the remaining 30 minutes.

“If we can string together 90 minutes of soccer rather than 89 I think that will be key to the outcome of Wednesday’s game,” Crowell said. “We had that one lapse for a minute and they got a lucky goal out of it.”

On Wednesday, Cornell is due to play one more home game against the Binghamton Bearcats (3-4) at 7 p.m. before hitting the road to play Marist and Hartford in the Marist tournament hosted in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The Binghamton women’s soccer team recently was handed its fourth 1-0 loss of the season and third overtime loss to reigning MAAC champion Siena (3-1). The Red is in for a challenging affair against a team that came very close to ending the 20-game home winning streak of the Siena Saints, who qualified for the 2010 NCAA tournament. So far this season, Taylor Kucharski and Jamie Holliday lead the Bearcats with 12 shots each; however, no Binghamtion player has scored more than one goal to date.

“Binghamton is beatable and Wednesday’s game is one we should hopefully control if we play well like we did on Saturday,” Hompe said of the Red’s next opponent. “In practice [Sunday] we tried to improve our offense to get more good offensive chances on goal.”

The Red begins Ivy League play on Sept. 23 when the team hosts Colombia at Berman Field. The squad has set the goal of approaching each game as its own separate challenge, with the goal of continuously improving throughout the season.

“At the same time, the Ivy League games are the most important part of the season since that is how we get to the NCAA tournament,” Hompe said.

Original Author: Rob Moore