Jason Ben Nathan | Sun Senior Photographer

The Red played Columbia and Monmouth close, but walked away from the weekend without a win.

October 3, 2016

Cornell Field Hockey Still Winless in Ivy League After Weekend of Close Defeats

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Cornell field hockey (5-5, 0-2 Ivy) suffered two close defeats over the weekend in what amounted to a disappointing road trip. The team will now have to fight its way out of a tough start to the Ivy League season, with only five games remaining against Ivy opponents.

“We are definitely very disappointed,” said head coach Donna Hornibrook. “The girls have worked very hard and they’re used to having success.”

On Friday against Columbia (6-4, 1-1 Ivy), the Red conceded an early goal and could never dig out of the deficit, ultimately losing a tightly contested game three to two.

Junior back Sam McIlwrick scored a goal and added an assist, while Katy Weeks scored her second goal on the season off a penalty corner assisted by McIlwrick and junior forward Katie Carlson.

Junior goalkeeper Kelly Johnson added five saves to for the Red.

“The team fought back against Columbia,” Hornibrook said. “We gave up an early goal which has been a problem for us all season.”

Cornell’s defensive unit is arguably the strongest part of the team. Yet, first half goals were conceded in every defeat this season for the Red. Chasing goals has forced the team to change its style of play at times.

Cornell is best suited to get out to an early lead and tighten up defensively and control play. The team went 5-0 when it scored first this season.

Nonetheless, the trend of conceding early goals continued on Sunday when the team took on Monmouth (9-2, 0-0 MAAC). The Red battled back to tie the game off of two goals from Carlson, who leads the team in scoring with seven goals. But the Red could not stop a talented Monmouth attack and were overmatched at times in the midfield.

“Monmouth has had a great season,” Hornibrook said. “They really have a lot of athleticism and speed.”

There were some positives for the Red over the weekend, as the team showed again it had the resiliency and determination to battle back.

“Monmouth really came at us early,” Hornibrook said. “We could’ve let the game get out of hand, but instead we battled back and tied the game up.”

The Red will not let back-to-back road defeats ruin their season. Instead, the team will gather itself and look for more consistency in the next week of practice before taking on Yale (4-5, 2-2 Ivy) at home on Saturday.

“The team will continue to keep working,” Hornibrook said. “We have a week of training to unfold in front of us.”

When asked about any changes potentially being made to the lineup, Hornibrook said it was too early to forecast what type of changes might be made in the upcoming weekend.

“We have to put our best lineup that we have out there every week,” Hornibrook said. “There are a lot of variables that come up throughout the week so we have to see who is available.”

The Red will have an opportunity to gather its first Ivy League win on Saturday, which the team desperately needs. But as is the case with Ivy League field hockey, no win is a given, and the Red will have to be sharper in all phases of the game if they want to come out with a victory.