By BEN DENSON
Whether a team wins by one goal or by 15, the value of a win never changes. The Cornell women’s soccer team (6-0-2) won with its third consecutive 1-0 score on Sunday against Binghamton. Needless to say, defense has been the all-important x-factor for the Red so far this season.
“Our defense is a team effort,” senior co-captain Shanay Fischer said. ”Every player on the field defends whether its a forward chasing back or a center back clearing the ball out of the penalty area. Being organized with our defensive shape is a huge component as well, not just in the back but all over the field.”
With the win last Sunday, Cornell remains undefeated. Even more impressive, the Red has yet to concede a goal. Coach Farmer’s team is meshing together well in the backfield.
“I think the defense is coming together well, mostly because they are a group that played together last year with the exception of Zoe McCormick, who has stepped into a difficult role in very good fashion as a freshman,” Farmer said. “The holding midfielders, who are also a prime factor in the defending shape, are also two seniors (Shanay Fischer and Brenna Mockler) and a sophomore (Kaylee Fitzgerald) who have played in their spots for the years they have been here. So the defending group has a variety of ages in the team but also a bunch of experience in the shape and system and playing with each other that I think is contributing to their good start.”
Senior co-captain Charlotte Tate is a symbol of Cornell’s success this season. The 5’7 senior is a formidable athlete, and is thought of as one of the best one-on-one defenders in the Ivy League. A fixture at the left-back position, Tate has proven that she is a single force to be reckoned with.
“She is a proverbial lead by example type of player,” Farmer said.
With 14 career clean sheets, junior goalie Kelsey Tierney continues to provide the team with reliable performances in net. Playing a dominant goalkeeper gives the Red a mentally competitive edge.
“Kelsey has two years of experience starting her junior campaign and that consistency certainly helps the mindset in the team, especially in the back,” Farmer said. “But she has made 3 game saving saves when she is suddenly called upon and that certainly helps the mindset. It is not an easy task for any goalkeeper to be inactive for some time in the match and then have to explode and make quality saves in traffic to preserve the result. Kelsey has done an excellent job of always being ready to perform when required, and certainly withstood a lot of pressure from Syracuse and Seton Hall to post the shutouts.”
Junior midfielder Elizabeth Crowell had the sole goal on Sunday.
“She controls possession for us more than any other player, she is prime factor in our attacking penetration with and without the ball, she is trigger for all of our corner kicks and free kicks, she leads the team in shots taken, and she is leading in goals scored. That’s quite a lot of impact so I absolutely believe she has ‘lived up’ to her position in the team,” said Farmer on Crowell’s play this season.
Cornell begins Ivy League play this week, with its first conference match against Columbia.
“We can win when we are not quite at our best, we can compete with good understanding as a group, and we have some very good players who can impact a result both individually and as a group,” said head coach Farmer.
Cornell will be tested for the rest of the season in terms of Ivy League matches, and is in a prime position to make an impact in the conference. If defense wins championships, the Red’s record so far speaks for itself.