Jason Ben Nathan | Sun Senior Photographer

Junior captain Sam McILwrick and the Red are focusing on capitalizing on scoring opportunities.

September 14, 2016

Following Close Loss to Stanford, Cornell Sets Sights on Lock Haven

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Cornell field hockey fell short to Stanford on Tuesday, losing 1-0. The women hope to end their two-game losing streak against Lock Haven on Sunday.

Stanford (2-4, 1-1 America East) is ranked 14th in the NCAA Division I standings; Cornell (3-2, 0-0 Ivy) is ranked 19th. This was the two teams’ first matchup since 2002, when the Red defeated the Cardinals, 4-1.

In the first half, Stanford came out strong, scoring on Cornell in 29th minute. The Red maintained its composure and held the Cardinal scoreless for the remainder of the game.

“Stanford is a good program, they have good position,” said coach Donna Horibrook. “This is the type of competition we want to get the team to continue to grow.”

Despite the close defeat at the hands of such a strong opponent, Hornibrook said the team is “at a point where we are not satisfied with close performances.”

“We want that win and we are really disappointed that we didn’t get it,” she said.

Following the game, Hornibrook stressed that she hopes the team will capitalize on similar opportunities moving forward.

“I thought we had a solid game,” Hornibrook said. “But we didn’t get the job done in terms of finishing the play off.”

Senior co-captain Sam McILwrick agreed with the head coach, commenting that while the team generated chances, the Red failed to take advantage to score goals.

“We had some good flow,” McILwrick said. “But … [we] weren’t connecting on the execution side.”

Cornell plans to continue maintaining its defensive force while increasing the tempo at which their game is played. The intended result is to increase the Red’s scoring opportunities.

Junior goalkeeper Kelly Johnson said she was impressed at the women’s overall control during the game.

“I think [the game] went really well,” she said. “Even when we got scored on I think we maintained our composure.”

This resiliency is a strength that the women have been showing throughout the season and will bring to the field during their upcoming game against Lock Haven (3-1, 0-0 A10).

Continuing the season’s tradition, Cornell’s bench contributed to the game greatly. Hornibrook said, “I think [players are on the bench are] going to be a key to our success — no doubt about it.”

One of the stars coming off the bench is senior midfielder Elizabeth Horak. Despite only playing 72 minutes, she has scored two goals for the Red, good for third on the team.

Undeterred by the loss, the Red is continuing its strategy for its upcoming games. The women will focus on using their strengths — defensive poise, ball tempo and fitness — to take on the Bald Eagles.

Lock Haven is ranked 33rd in the NCAA Division I standings, 14 places below Cornell. However, the women are not letting rankings affect the game plan.

“We need to make sure we are mentally in the game,” McILwrick said.

The Bald Eagles are a high scoring team, averaging five goals per game, making them the second highest average scoring program in NCAA Division I field hockey. That offensive firepower was on display in the team’s first two games, when they scored a combined 16 goals.

Johnson said she believes that by refocusing on the Red’s core strengths, the team will be able to combat the high-powered offence.

“Something we try to focus on … is keeping the movement on in the back,” Johnson said. “I think we stepped away from that a little more [on Tuesday]. I think that is always something we can work on.”

As the season is just kicking off, the Red is confident and excited for its upcoming games.

Cornell takes on Lock Haven Sunday at 2 p.m. on the road in Pennsylvania.