September 21, 2011

FIELD HOCKEY | Red, Lions Resume Rivalry

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Score or be scored on. That has been the trend so far in the young season of the Cornell field hockey team (3-3, 0-1 Ivy). Of the Red’s six contests this year, five of the decisions have been shutouts – two in its favor and three against. If the trend continues this weekend, the Red will be looking to blank another opponent, this time Columbia (2-3, 1-0 Ivy), on Saturday at Marsha Dodson Field at 12 p.m.

Not only have almost all of the Red’s games been shutouts, but they have all also been low-scoring. Neither the Red nor any of its opponents has managed to score more than three goals this season. In fact, the Red is averaging exactly one goal per game, while limiting opponents to just over a goal per game — ranking ninth in the nation in goals against average.

Senior goalkeeper and co-captain Alex Botte believes the team’s struggles on offense have been a mixture of bad luck as well as shot selection.

“It’s just a matter of our forwards finding the back of the net and finding our forwards as well — getting it from the midfielders to the forwards and creating chances when we’re in the circle. And while we’re in the circle, not taking the low-percentage shot,” she said. “I just think that we haven’t been capitalizing on the opportunities that we’ve gotten.”

Head coach Donna Hornibrook also thinks it’s a matter of execution.

“The positive is that we’ve got a good, solid foundation. We’ve got the lowest goals against average in the conference, so that really gives us a lot to build on. I think your defense can really set up your attack and transition, so we’re working on trying to get some better movement and creating some more chances for ourselves,” she said.

Among the players that Hornibrook singled out on defense was junior midfielder and back Genevieve Collins, whom Hornibrook believed played her best field hockey so far this season over the weekend.

“I think our whole defense did really well this weekend. They’re really communicating and working really hard on and off the ball, and I do that pretty well,” Collins said.

Senior midfielder and co-captain Olivia Boyd also said earlier this week that Collins was “a rock” on defense in the game against Penn.

The Lions come to town having won their Ivy opener against Brown last weekend, 3-1, while the Red lost its first conference game, 1-0,  to the Quakers in Philadelphia last weekend. It was a “tough loss,” according to Hornibrook.

Despite the loss to Penn on Saturday, the win on Sunday over St. Francis provides momentum for the Red going into Saturday’s matchup against Columbia. Both Botte and Hornibrook acknowledged Sunday’s victory was much needed for the team.

The Lions return five seniors this season and their top goal scorer, junior Gabby Koslowski, who is again leading the team in scoring this year. Gone, however, is the Lion’s second-leading goal scorer from last season, Julia Garrison, who scored both of the Lions’ goals in their double overtime loss to the Red last season, 3-2.

Not only did the Red beat the Lions last season, but they have beaten their intrastate rivals in each of the past six seasons with seemingly tighter games each consecutive year. The wins from the first four seasons were decided by one goal, and the victories from the past two came in double overtime. If this trends provides any foresight, this weekend’s game promises to be a close and low-scoring game.

“We’ve had some really tight games against the Loins so I know it’s going to be a really competitive game,” Hornibrook said.

Original Author: Brian Bencomo