Brittney Chew | Sun Photography Editor

Cornell's defense has been among the best in the Ivy League this season, but the team's offense has struggled to provide enough points for victories.

October 12, 2016

Despite Strong Defense, Women’s Soccer’s Offense Unable to Provide Enough Points for Wins

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The women’s soccer team (3-7-2, 0-2-1) finished fall break winless with a 0-0 tie to Harvard (7-3-1, 2-0-1) and a 1-0 loss to Colgate (5-6-3). With four games left in the season — all against Ivy opponents — the Red’s quest for an Ivy championship is still a possibility but is drifting farther and farther out of reach.

With just four goals on the season, Cornell offense has been relatively anemic to start this year. Against the Crimson it was no different. The Red’s offense continued to struggle taking just eight shots against Harvard’s defense.

Cornell was able to stay in the game thanks to solid defense throughout the contest. Sophomore goalkeeper Meghan Kennedy made six saves and was flawless against a Harvard offense that has 17 goals on the season.

“Against Harvard, I think we did really well in just work effort on the field,” said freshman defender Autumn Brown. “We were putting in a lot of work, and we won a lot of individual battles which translated into team battles.”

The Red was more aggressive against the Raiders, as the team finished with 20 total shots, but still failed to come away with a goal. Cornell’s defense was excellent once again, surrendering just one goal to a potent Raiders offense that has 17 goals on the season.

Nevertheless, the women know they must improve the team’s offense in order to have any shot at finishing atop the Ivy League, which was a preseason goal.

Despite the team’s current winless Ivy League record (0-2-1), the season is far from over, and winning the league certainly is not out of question.

“Winning the Ivy League has always been our end goal for the season,” said junior forward Meera Dheer.

The last time the Red won the Ivy League was in 1991, and the last time the Red finished in the top half of the league was in 1995 (tied for second).

Cornell has four more Ivy League games, against Yale, Brown, Princeton and Dartmouth, and will have to finish the season 4-0 to have any shot at sitting atop the podium.

With such a difficult path to the title, the Red will have to examine its play thus far and figure out a strategy that works in order to put together a four-game win streak.

Brown mentioned that the Red has excelled at self-development throughout the course of the season, so, according to her, finding ways to improve should not be a problem.

“Throughout the season, I think the team has done well at working through our problems and identifying what our problems are as a team, and then moving forward from that,” Brown said. “By now, a lot of our team goals are focused on being able to perform at our best level in every game and becoming more consistent with that.”

Head coach Patrick Farmer has emphasized the importance of passing throughout the season and knows that this has been one of the team’s weaknesses on offense.

“For us to be effective — we don’t have a lot of real world class stars running around — we need to pass the ball and share the ball better,” he said to Cornell Athletics after the team’s loss to San Diego State on Sept. 11.

Improving passing will be essential to the team’s offensive improvement throughout the rest of the season.

Cornell turns its attention to Yale (5-4-3) this weekend. The Red takes on the Bulldogs at 1 p.m. on Saturday at home.