As the sun beat down on Saturday, the Red took to their home turf Berman Field to face the Columbia Lions in the first match of the Ivy season. Despite a strong first half, the Red was unable to fend off Columbia, losing the game 2-0.
After the game, Coach Dwight Hornibrook said his team “played a great half” — but “we need to play the second as well as the first.”
Cornell headed into the game with 4-2-1 overall, evenly matched to Columbia’s 4-2-1. The first half of the game reflected that evenness: Both teams played aggressively, resulting in no points on the board.
Senior Chrissy Mayer was in goal and made six saves in the second half, skilfully sending the ball back out when Columbia put pressure on the Red.
“I was ready for the pressure,” Mayer said. “Ivy games are always at a high level.”
Mayer’s athleticism was on full display as she jumped to tip the ball over the top of the bar during an attempt on goal.
“It was a good one,” Mayor recalled, “but I couldn’t think about it too hard because it resulted in a corner kick and I needed to be ready for that.”
And in the final few minutes of the half, the Red had regular control of the ball and played mostly on Columbia’s side of the field, giving Cornell more possession time.
Senior forward Kennedy Yearby put forth two shots, one in each half. Sophomore forward Victoria Bubrick and sophomore midfielder Evanthia Spyredes both made shots on goal, but neither made it into the net.
Ultimately it was Columbia sophomore forward Mallaika Tomar and senior midfielder Maddie Temares who successfully scored. Tomar scored in the 65th minute off a give-and-go in the Red’s box. A quick fifteen minutes later, Temares added another goal for Columbia, widening the gap for a potential Cornell comeback.
Looking into the rest of the Red’s Ivy Season, Hornibrook was optimistic — “we have great soccer players on this team,” he said. But to improve performance for the rest of the season, Hornibrook will look to build the team to its maximum fitness.
“When you run out of strength, you lose your confidence,” he explained. “We need more conditioning to play as well in the second half as we do in the first.”
Hornibrook believes that working on the team’s strength and conditioning will produce the stamina and consistency the Red needs to win future games. The Red will have a chance to test that theory this coming Saturday, when the team will travel to Philadelphia to face the University of Pennsylvania.