Jason Ben Nathan / Sun File Photo

The Red fell to a tough Penn squad in a close 1-0 contest over the weekend.

September 24, 2018

Field Hockey Plays Penn Close, Falls in Tight Conference Game

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Despite winning just one game during the non-conference portion of its schedule, the Cornell field hockey team was able to push Penn, one of the top teams in the Ivy League, to the brink in both teams’ first Ivy League game of the season.

Ultimately, though, the Quakers were able to stave off the upset and departed Ithaca with a 1-0 victory over the Red (1-6, 0-1 Ivy).

Penn, who defeated the Red, 2-0, last year in Philadelphia, came into this season’s matchup with the Red with a 3-3 record, including a top-25 win over Wake Forest.

The Quakers opened the scoring early with a goal just eight minutes into the game from junior Alexa Schneck, her first of the season, which proved to be enough. Despite numerous second-half chances, Cornell was unable to even the score.

The Red, which has had trouble getting shots on net so far this year, outshot the Quakers during the second half.

Junior goaltender Maddie Henry, who has started six of the seven games the Red has played, made seven saves in the game, and upped her save percentage to just below 70. Henry took home second-team all-Ivy honors last year, allowing just 1.49 goals per game.

Another issue for Cornell this year has been allowing opponents far too many penalty corner opportunities. This proved problematic again against the Quakers.

“When we go into the circle, to a fault, our team tries to get shots on goal, while other teams that we play just look to get penalty corners when they go in our circle,” head coach Steve Simpson said. “So, we don’t get as many penalty corners as maybe we could, but we obviously still highly value the opportunities that we do get.”

In the Ivy League opener, the Red allowed Penn to attempt 10 corners, five in each half, while Cornell was only able to secure six chances in the game, all but one of which came in the second half, but Simpson was happy with how his team used its opportunities.

“In this game, we actually executed both our offensive and defensive penalty corners very well,” Simpson said. “On all five of our second-half offensive penalty corners, we either scored and the call was overturned, or we were very close to scoring — so I think that this has been the biggest positive aspect of our team this season.”

Cornell, which came into the season tabbed as the fifth-best team in the Ivy League in the preseason poll, is currently last in the conference in goals, scoring margin, shots and penalty corners.
“Going forward, ultimately, we just need to convert on our opportunities,” Simpson said. “Everything is really there for us to be successful, but at the end of the day, we can’t get the outcomes we want unless we score goals.”

The Red will try to pick up its second win of the season when it hosts Colgate Tuesday in a rare mid-week battle. Last season, the Raiders defeated Cornell, 1-0, in Hamilton. On Saturday, the Red continues Ivy League play, visiting Columbia.