The women’s soccer team toppled the Binghamton Bearcats Wednesday night under the lights at Berman Field, 1-0, earning its first win of the season. The single-goal game marked the end of a four game winless streak for the Red (1-4), which began with an overtime loss against Fordham in the team’s season opener.
The long awaited play occurred at just 1:35 into the second half, when the Red’s offense deftly maneuvered around the oncoming defense and guided the ball into the net, between Binghamton goaltender Stephanie Speirs and the right post.
“I was playing forward with [junior Moonie Mancho] and she was pushing the defender when it popped out to me,” junior forward Xandra Hompe explained. “It was just me and the goalie, and I got it between the goalie and the post.”
Mancho pressed a Bearcats defender, who was only temporarily able to move the ball away from the goal before it popped up and found its way to Hompe’s cleats, which took it into the net unassisted. After scoring, the Red gathered around Hompe to celebrate its first lead of the 2011 season.
“I think we always play better with a lead,” Hompe said. “Then we aren’t scrambling to get the lead.”
“You can’t get comfortable when you have the lead,” Mancho added. “You have to keep playing hard.”
The Red continued to put pressure on the Bearcats (3-5), challenging their defense and keepers throughout the second half all while still maintaining the lead.
“From the beginning of the game we were playing well — defenders, forwards, goalie, everyone,” Hompe recalled. “At half-time [head coach Danielle LaRoche] was encouraging us. It helped that everyone was playing really well. We had good opportunities on goal that boosted team morale.”
Within a minute of scoring, Hompe made another appearance by the net, but sent the ball wide to the right. Out-shooting Binghamton, 17-7, and maintaining superior ball control were key to Cornell’s strategy. Several Red freshmen made solid offensive contributions to the game this week, including forward Jaclyn Katz who made a pass to Hompe with five minutes remaining in the first half. The play resulted in a dangerous shot on the Bearcats’ net, which almost gave Hompe her first goal of the night.
“We are going to continue working hard, with high work ethic and high pressure,” Mancho said. “We will continue implementing these things to be successful.”
The Red experienced consecutive shut-outs in the three contests before Hompe’s shot found the back of the net. “Tonight, we put it all together for the first time,” said LaRoche. “All the things we’ve been working on in practice really came together tonight.”
Cornell continued to keep the heat on Binghamton in the final minutes of the game when freshman midfielder Claire MacManus scooped up a blocked shot from a fellow teammate. Senior forward Brook Chang also had a scoring opportunity with a breakaway that soared just wide of the net. In total, senior goaltender Kelly Murphy saw only two shots due to the team’s aggressive play.
“We’re really going to try to come out strong,” Hompe said about the weekend’s upcoming matches. “We want to start a winning streak, be consistent [and] get some opportunities on goal.”
“It wasn’t the result we wanted but I was pleased with our effort,” Binghamton head coach Sarah McClellan said in a press release. “Cornell converted on one of our very few mistakes tonight. We are still trying to break our scoring drought and get our offensive rhythm back but we are in a good place as we approach our America East opener.”
The Cornell women hope to carry their newfound momentum to the Red Fox Invitational, where they will play against host Marist College on Firday at 7 p.m., before wrapping up the weekend in a match against Hartford on Sunday.
Original Author: Rob Moore