By KEITH BOLLT
Sophomore forward Krysten Mayers scored twice in 26 seconds and Big Red field hockey (4-2-0, 0-0 Ivy) completed a weekend sweep of the Maine Black Bears (7-2, 0-0 AEC) and the Vermont Catamounts (2-6-0, 0-0 AEC). The Red won 2-0 Saturday against the Catamounts and 2-0 Sunday over the Black Bears. Both games were played at Vermont’s Moulton Winder Field. In winning both games, the Red extended their winning streak to four. Team confidence is running high.
“It is really good to go into our Ivy play with this confidence,” said senior co-captain midfielder Taylor Standiford. “We wanted to use this past weekend to prepare us as much as possible for Penn [the Red’s first Ivy opponent], and I think we were successful in that.”
Saturday’s game against Vermont was about adjusting to not only an opponent but also to a playing surface. Senior co-captain back Marisa Siergiej said the match was one of the biggest things they had to get accustomed to.
“Their field was harder than we’re used to”, said Siergiej, referring to Moulton Winder Field’s artificial surface.
The Red had 21 shots against the Catamounts and 8 shots on goal. Standiford said the Vermont goalie was hard to score on.
“Vermont had really great goaltending,” said Standiford. “But we knew if we kept putting them under pressure we would eventually score.”
Sunday’s game against Maine was on neutral turf. Head Coach Donna Hornibrook said the Black Bears were a tough opponent, and the Red stepped up to play a close game.
“They were 7-1 going in,” Hornibrook said. “We made more saves. It was an even game. Maine’s game is really good.”
Although fans got to see 70 minutes of close hockey, Sunday’s game was decided in 26 seconds. Mayers deflected a Red penalty corner into the Black Bear’s goal, making it 1-0 Cornell. Coach Hornibrook said field hockey goals are often scored in pairs because a team can lose their focus after allowing a goal. After a faceoff, Maine quickly lost possession and Mayers eventually ended up one on one with the goalie. Two-zip. Coach Hornibrook and her players agreed that scoring in non-corner situations is a good sign moving forward.
“We’ve gotten goals from open play,” Siergiej said. “We’re better than last year [in that regard].”
The Red did not allow a goal all weekend, and did not give up shot on goal to Vermont. Coach Hornibrook said Cornell has begun to work well as a team as the season moves on.
“We had confidence from the beginning. Preseason, we had no flow,” she said. “We’ve gotten more into a flow. It takes time to gel. Different people are stepping up. We’ve made it tough to be score on.”
Standiford said defense was a big part of an undefeated weekend, echoing her coach’s sentiments of team gelling.
“Our defense was extremely strong this past weekend, especially our corner defense who kept us in the game,” said Standiford. “We also had some great goaltending behind us. Freshman goalie Mackenzie Gagliardi really stepped up when we needed her too and we were all extremely proud of her.”
This weekend was an important pair of victories for Red, but it was also a milestone in the Siergiej family. Siergiej got to witness her teammate and younger sister Isabel score her first career collegiate goals. Isabel, a freshman midfielder, tallied both goals in Saturday’s win over Vermont. When first prompted, Marisa said tongue-in-cheek that she wished her sister’s first goal had come earlier in the season.
Marisa said her sister is “an asset to the team”, pointing out that Isabel is already on the front line. Finally, the senior co-captain opened up about what Isabel’s goal meant to her as an older sibling.
“I’m super happy for her”, said Siergiej.