After a close battle with Villanova, the Red ultimately succumbed to the Wildcats in a narrow overtime loss, 13-12.
Villanova (1-1) was quick to get on the board, finding the back of the net less than four minutes into the game. But just 10 seconds later, Cornell (0-1) scored the first of four unanswered goals to go up 4-1.
The Wildcats responded with two goals of their own to bring the game back within one. The teams then traded goals for the rest of the half with Villanova holding a one-goal advantage, 6-5, heading into the second half.
After trading more goals, senior captain attacker Sarah Phillips was equalized the score at 10 apiece a little over seven minutes into the second half.
Not willing to relinquish its lead, however, the Wildcats scored three unanswered goals. The Red made a late push to force overtime, but fell just short as the clock wound down with a final score of 13-12.
Despite the loss, the young squad has a lot of positives to take away from the game.
Junior captain attacker Caroline Allen led the way, notching a career high five goals and three assists to give her a career high eight points on the day.
“It was just great to finally get the season started,” Allen said. “Even though it wasn’t the outcome we wanted, there’s definitely a lot to learn from going forward.”
The Red also had two players — senior attacker Shannon Bertscha and freshman midfielder Genevieve DeWinter — tally their first collegiate goals.
Sophomore goalkeeper Hailey Andress made her first collegiate start, but junior goalkeeper Katie McGahan came on in relief a little over six minutes into the second half and recorded three saves of her own.
Cornell also outshot the Wildcats, 19-17, and fielded 17 ground balls to Villanova’s 16.
“What was promising was that we showed a lot of fight once we buckled down,” said junior captain and defender Mary Kate Bonanni. “That’s good news for us because we can always lean back on [our ability to keep fighting through] when things aren’t going our way.”
With a blend of fresh talent and seasoned veterans, the Red thinks it can be a formidable opponent if it tidies its game up.
“It was only our first game,” Bonanni said, “so we have a lot to learn from it and we have time to do so. Once we clean those [mistakes] up, which we definitely can, I think we’ll be in good shape.”
Cornell will have its first opportunity to play in front of a home crowd as it takes on No.10 Penn State (2-0) in its home opener at 1 p.m. Saturday.