Cornell field hockey came up short against conference rival Harvard in what ultimately became an 8-0 landslide victory for the Crimson in which the Red could never get its offense going.
Harvard (12-1, 4-0 Ivy) has suffered just one loss this whole season, and its victory this weekend extended its nine-game winning streak.
The first 25 minutes of the game were scoreless, but the Red (3-9, 0-4) were left scrambling to stave off the aggressive Crimson attack. Junior goalkeeper Maddie Henry kept Harvard off the scoreboard with 8 saves. Although the score remained at a standstill, the Red made costly mistakes in its own end that set the tone of the game and eventually led to its demise.
“We were turning the ball over and giving up too many entries into our defense barrier,” said interim head coach Stephen Simpson.
“We had the ball in our circle a lot so defense was really busy, but we held them for a while,” said freshman defenseman Delaney Golian.
The dynamic of the game quickly shifted once Harvard’s Tessel Huibregtsen notched the first goal of the game. Harvard swiftly continued to capitalize on its opportunities. Within just seven minutes of the goal, Maddie Earle and Olivia Hoover extended the Crimson’s lead.
“When the first goal went in, our resolve and consistency on defense weakened,” Simpson said.
With the Crimson’s first half momentum and the Red’s weakening resolve, the second half saw five more goals from Harvard. At 43:07, Bente van Vlijmen scored off of a penalty corner. Less than two minutes later, Harvard’s Maddie Earl intercepted the ball, broke into the Red’s circle, and secured the ball in the right side of the goal.
All the while, the Red struggled to find offensive opportunities. The ball seldom entered Cornell’s offensive zone, and the Red had zero shots throughout the whole game.
“We were attacking too straight, we were passing to Harvard instead of Cornell people,” Simpson said.
Even when the Red did have the ball on its sticks, the unwavering Crimson defense swiftly regained control.
“They played defense together, so they would hunt in pairs. Whenever one person took the ball, there would always be two Harvard girls pressuring the ball together,” Golian said.
Close to the end of the hour, Harvard’s Huibrestsen placed a reverse stick shot into the back of the Red’s goal. Casey Allen quickly widened the Crimson lead when she scored a goal off of a rebound in the Red’s circle. In the last moments of the game, Crimson’s Maddie Earl landed a hat trick, capping the game off at 8-0.
“We had too many goals that came on second chances right after the goalie made the save by not getting to the rebound. We gave up too many chances and big scores happen when you do that,” Simpson said.
The Red will continue its hunt for an Ivy League win next Saturday at Brown. The game will be live streamed on ESPN+ at 12 p.m.