A defensive standstill against Columbia couldn’t be decided in double overtime. But the Red finally sealed its first Ivy League victory of 2019 with a single shootout goal.
Senior goalkeeper Maddie Henry was the hero for the Red, stopping all five shots she saw in the shootout. Junior forward Grace Royer scored the shootout winner to give Cornell (5-2, 1-1 Ivy League) a 1-0 victory.
“We would not have won without her,” head coach Andy Smith said of Henry. “It is not often you see the goalkeeper stop all five shots in a shootout. I thought she was brilliant, and she has been like that all season.”
An impasse was destined from the opening faceoff. Collectively, the teams totaled only four shots in the first half of the game, as play was limited primarily to the midfield.
Columbia (5-4, 1-1 Ivy), however, turned on their offensive engine in the second half of the game, recording six penalty corners and six shots. But their efforts were futile against the Red’s stout defense.
“Our defensive unit has been very good all season,” Smith said. “We were very hard on them in practice, and we feel like we have the right personnel in the right positions. We play very tight and very proactively on that end.”
With the score stagnant at 0-0 in the last seconds of the second half, the game headed for overtime.
An offensive outburst in the first overtime quarter overtook the defensive strategy that characterized regulation — Cornell and Columbia recorded a near equal amount of shots, the Red recording five compared to the Lions’ four. Despite a reinvigorated offensive energy, each team’s defensive unit protected their goals and the 0-0 impasse prevailed.
A second overtime proved equally fruitless. Only a shootout could crack the seemingly insurmountable deadlock between the Ivy League foes.
After three Cornell shots during the shootout, Royer was the first player of the day to find the back of the goal.
The Red held the weak shootout advantage, but Henry transformed the feeble edge into the team’s first Ivy League victory of the season. She was the hero of the day, saving all five shootout tries that the Lions fired her way.
“The game was a defensive battle,” Smith said. “We battled for the 80 minutes that really counted. We found a way to get it done and I am really proud of the heart, grit, and determination we showed in finishing the job with a shootout.”
The Red’s grit and endurance carried Cornell through the match, and the team was strongest in the most critical moments of the game — which drove it to victory.
“We were thrilled,” Smith said. “It is always nice to get the first (Ivy win) on the board. We felt that we were the better team coming into the game and the results showed that during the 80 minutes we were the better team.”
Looking to extend its two-game winning streak, the Red will travel to New Haven to take on Yale at noon next Saturday.