November 7, 2011

FIELD HOCKEY | Botte, Boyd Bid Farewell to Team Play

Print More

It was a bittersweet ending for Cornell (7-10, 1-6 Ivy League) last Sunday in Hanover, N.H. Despite turning in one of its best performances of the season, an early overtime goal ended the Red’s season on a sour note as Dartmouth (10-7, 5-2) narrowly pulled out the victory, 2-1.

Dartmouth opened up the scoring when senior Meghan Everett scored a goal in the fourth minute of play. The Red responded soon afterward when junior forward Kat DiPastina scored in the 13th minute on a rebound off a shot from sophomore forward Brittany Thompson.

Despite averaging three goals per game, the Green would not score another goal until overtime against a tough Red defense led by senior goalkeeper and co-captain Alex Botte, who was making the last start of her career. The defense was particularly good at limiting the Green’s penalty corner opportunities.

“We held them to six penalty corners and they live and die by their corner. That was one of our tactics and key points going into the game,” said head coach Donna Hornibrook.

Hornibrook also believes her team did an “excellent” job defending those penalty corners. After giving up four goals on corners the previous weekend at Princeton, Hornibrook said that the team had been especially focused on defending these scoring opportunities. Overall, Hornibrook felt that all aspects of the game plan going up against Dartmouth were well executed.

“I thought that we executed our game plan probably as well as we have all season,” she said. “Elsewhere on defense the team did a good job at containing the Green’s all-time leading goal scorer Kelly Hood. Hood took eight of her team’s twenty shots, but none of the four which were on goal made it past Botte.”

Tied at the end of regulation, 1-1, the Red went into its first overtime game of the year. It would be a short-lived overtime, as Dartmouth’s Ali Savage scored the game-winner on a 2-on-1 breakaway following a midfield interception just 48 seconds into the period.

Senior forward and co-captain Olivia Boyd described the result of the game as “heartbreaking.”

Despite this, she was still happy with how the team played in her last game in a Cornell uniform.

“Dartmouth is definitely one of the top teams in the league, so I feel like the fact that we stuck with them for the entire regulation time was a really good finish for us,” she said.

It was a tough loss to swallow, especially as the team would have liked to send off seniors Botte and Boyd with a win according to sophomore forward Hannah Balleza.

Despite playing her last game with the team, Boyd does not believe this is the end of Cornell field hockey for her.

“I like to think of it as it doesn’t necessarily end with the last game, and that [Botte and I will] still be a really big part of the program,” she said.

Boyd hopes to keep in touch with many of the players and check out games at Harvard whenever the team visits her native Boston.

For Botte, Sunday was not truly her final game suiting up for the Red. The senior net minder was one of 38 players — and only one of two from the Ancient Eight — selected to play in this year’s National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division I senior game. Incidentally, Sunday’s matchup featured both of the Ivy players selected to play in the game, with Dartmouth’s Hood being the other. The game will be played at Louisville on Saturday, Nov. 19. It is the second year in a row that Cornell sends a player to the game.

“I’m a little nervous, but really, really honored to be able to play with some of the best athletes from some of the best field hockey teams in country,” Botte said.

Botte finishes her Cornell career tied for the most wins (19) as a goalie in school history.

Original Author: Brian Bencomo