By TROY BRIDSON
Junior midfielder Ellie Crowell sent in a high arching cross that soared deep into the box. Senior captain Shanay Fischer then headed the ball down towards junior defender Taylor Wright, who sent a blistering shot off the top of the crossbar. Sophomore forward Paige Deloach gathered the rebound and drilled a shot into the back of the net. This goal helped seal the first win of the season for Cornell (6-0-2) (0-0 Ivy) in its game against Loyola and was a taste of what was to come from a dominant Cornell offense.
Crowell and Deloach have since become cornerstones of the 2015 attack alongside freshman midfielder Jessica Ritchie.
“Our team philosophy is to penetrate and be dangerous,” Deloach said. “This involves making runs, creating space for the midfield and making sure that play moves up the field.”
Cornell boasts a balanced offense that creates opportunities through strong passing and controlling the game at the midfield.
“Our successes up front come more consistently from combinations between players rather than through individual efforts,” Crowell said.“As a team, much of our success is attributed to the strength of our back line. Kailey Joyce, Zoe McCormick, Whitney Farber and Charlotte Tate start and play almost 90 minutes every game.”
Equally impressive, the Red defense and goalkeeping has not allowed a goal this season.
“Most of that defending group has been together for a couple of years and are comfortable and confident with each other,” said head coach Patrick Farmer.
Junior goalkeeper Kelsey Tierney has also been flawless so far, stopping any shots that manage to sneak through the back line.
Cornell will look to continue its undefeated season this weekend, first with a game against Columbia (4-3-0) (0-0 Ivy) tonight and then a second match against Wagner College (1-7-1) (0-0 NEC) on Sunday. Tonight’s home matchup against Columbia will also mark the start of the Ivy League season for Cornell.
“Columbia is well organized and possessive with strong physical matchups against us,” Farmer said. “They have a couple of excellent frontrunners who offer very different types of play and will pose a serious challenge to our back four. The psychological aspect of getting a strong start to the Ivy season will add to the match also.”
The favorites to take home the Ivy League title in 2015 are Harvard, Dartmouth and Yale. However, Cornell, still in the midst of a rebuilding process under Coach Farmer, has made strong steps in the right direction this season.
“I think we are at the point where we expect to compete in every match and are capable of winning each match if we put in a good performance,” Farmer said. “But I don’t think we have completely turned the corner to the point where we are expecting to win an Ivy title.”
Farmer, who has turned around a number of college programs during his coaching carrer, noted that a strong start to the 2015 Ivy League season would help create that mindset of expecting to win.
“Having and recruiting good players is always the key and I have been at a number of really excellent universities that attract quality student athletes,” Farmer said.
After the match against Columbia, Cornell will immediately focus on their game with Wagner.
The biggest aspect of that match will be making the physical, emotional and psychological adjustments needed following a hard Ivy match less than 48 hours earlier,” Farmer said. “It is always a tough test for the team to play a nonconference match the same weekend as an Ivy match, and it will tell us even more about this current team.”
Cornell’s best start ever came in 1986 when they started the season 7-0-1. If the Red can win both games this weekend, they will be off to the best start in the history of the program.