By TROY BRIDSON
Junior forward Katy Weeks sent the ball in from outside the circle towards sophomore forward Krysten Mayers, who gathered the ball and sent a nice shot through the legs of the Penn goalkeeper. The goal came early in the second half and knotted the score at one to one. Cornell (4-3-0) (0-1 Ivy) added another goal shortly thereafter to take the lead. However, Penn (6-1-0) (1-0 Ivy) was not finished and was eventually able to tie the game. A tightly contested back and forth match went to overtime, where the Red ultimately lost on a Penn penalty stroke.
“It was a tail of two halves,” said head coach Donna Hornibrook. “We came out very slow in the first half and we didn’t play well as a group, but we came out in the second half and got it together.”
Although the Red were able to turn it around in the second half, the lack of production in the first half proved too costly to overcome in a game decided by one goal. These types of matches are typical in the Ivy League; with many solid, evenly matched teams all contending for the top of the conference. Execution on a few possessions is usually the deciding factor for who comes out on top.
“The Ivy League is not a one day deal,” Hornibrook said. “We have six more games coming up and something we definitely need to do is finish the job.”
Cornell will play Columbia (5-2-0) (1-0 Ivy) at home this Saturday. Cornell has continued to struggle in Ithaca this season, with a 1-2 home record. In 2014, the Red went 6-1 on the road and were 4-4 at home. The team is looking to build some consistent success at home. The Red is also hoping to put in a solid performance for the whole 70 minutes.
“We have to do a good job on both sides of the ball the whole match,” Hornibrook said. “That’s what it takes to win.”
The Red has been practicing hard all week long. The players are pushing themselves to become better individually and collectively as a team. The coaching staff and captains have high expectations for the 2015 season and want to see the team reach its fullest potential.
“We are aiming to become Ivy League champions this season,” said senior Captain Marisa Siergiej.
Cornell is looking to make improvements offensively. Although the attack has been very explosive at times this season, the unit has not been able to sustain its full effectiveness in a lot its matches. The team has been carried by sophomore forward Krysten Mayers, who leads the team in goals. Cornell needs more consistent offensive contributions from the rest of the team. The Red has a great defense and a terrific goalkeeper in Kelly Johnson. If the offense can get in a groove, Cornell will be difficult to beat.
“Attack wise we are trying to develop more fluidity and vision with our play,” Hornibrook said.
Overall, the team has looked very solid since a slow start to the season. After several key players returned from injury, Cornell has been more balanced and strung together a nice 4-1 stretch of play. Although the Red lost in overtime to Penn, the team rebounded after a sluggish first half and showed that the team never quits. The Red is never out of any match.