Cornell field hockey earned another Ivy League win this weekend by defeating Yale, but the winning momentum failed to translate into a victory against non-league opponent California-Berkeley.
The Red (6-3, 2-1 Ivy League) entered the game against Yale with energy and intensity both offensively and defensively, a common trend this season. Defeated by the Bulldogs in a 1-0 overtime loss last year on Dodson Field, the team triumphed, 2-1, thanks to two goals from sophomore forward Claire Jones.
“We are on the right path and we are doing what we need to do,” head coach Andy Smith said. “We felt like we were in control all day … We fought well and were clearly the better team of the day, at least by the results.”
Despite five shots and two penalty corners, the Red couldn’t find the back of the net. However, the score remained tied at 0-0 as the Red stymied all offensive advances by the Bulldogs (2-9, 0-3 Ivy League). Yale failed to break through the Red’s strong defensive bulwark into the circle for the entirety of the quarter.
The Red’s offensive prowess materialized into a goal in the first minute of the second quarter. Junior midfielder Taylor Gladd, with the ball on her stick, traveled along the right sideline and with a strategic turn toward the circle, passed the ball to Jones. Capitalizing on the opportunity, Jones tipped the pass into the net, giving her team a 1-0 lead.
The Bulldogs would not surrender. With just one minute left in the first half, the Bulldogs tallied their first — and only — goal of the day.
A halftime break reenergized the Red, and it retook the field with a desire to reclaim its lead. Yale negated almost all of the Red’s attempts, until the very last seconds of the third quarter. Jones capitalized on a penalty corner called with seven seconds left in the third quarter. Her second goal of the game widened the scoring gap once again and proved to be the game-winner.
“[Jones] was brilliant,” Smith said. “She played really well, scored two great goals and is doing very well, especially as only a sophomore.”
The fourth quarter proved offensively futile. Senior goalkeeper Maddie Henry saved three shots in the quarter to secure the win for the Red.
The second game of the weekend’s double header in New Haven produced a less than favorable result for the Red. The Cal Bears broke the Red’s three-game winning streak in a 3-1 contest.
The Red struggled to get off to its signature quick start. The Bears instead took offensive control — their nine shots on goal trumped the Red’s measly one. The lopsided shots on goal primarily were a product of penalty corners — the Red allowed six penalty corners to the Bears in the first quarter alone. Despite the Bears’ offensive edge gained from the penalty corners, Henry saved every shot and the score remained tied at 0-0.
The second quarter brought about back-and-forth scoring from the teams. Cal opened up scoring five minutes into the quarter. The Red responded just five minutes later. Junior midfielder Julianne Mangano found a loose ball after the Cal goalie blocked two shots. Mangano skillfully tipped the ball into the goal to tie the game back up. But with less than two minutes left in the second half, the Bears regained their one-goal advantage.
“We didn’t feel like we were out of the game at all,” Smith said. “In terms of circle penetrations, we generate more than they do in the first half — we just gave them penalty corners. We are very good defensively and Maddie Henry had a world class performance, but we have to stop putting ourselves in positions like that.”
The offensive intensity of the first half did not translate into the second half for either team. Rather, the second half saw only two total shots on goal, both of which came from the Bears.
“We got our tactics wrong, and that’s on me as the head coach,” Smith said. “We also gave up way too many penalty corners. We just kept giving them penalty corner after penalty corner, and then we changed our system right at the end.”
A fruitless third quarter transitioned into another quarter played in the midfield. The Bears, already up 2-1, managed to hit the back of the net for their third goal of the game with just four minutes remaining. The Red was left scrambling to overcome the two-goal deficit, but to no avail.
The Bears maintained the advantage in all aspects of the game. Cornell’s five shots on goal paled in comparison to the Bears’ 18. The Bears also had the edge with 11 penalty corners versus Cornell’s six.
“We don’t feel like we got beat — we beat ourselves,” Smith said. “We played very soft hockey, and I was disappointed with that. But we move on.”