Coming off a midweek win over Lehigh, Cornell field hockey entered this past weekend with an important pair of games on the docket.
The Red faced Ivy League foe Brown before venturing up to Syracuse to clash with the No.15 Orange.
While Cornell lost, 3-1, to Syracuse on Sunday, it still earned a landslide 4-0 victory against Brown on Saturday, which served as the team’s senior day.
Integral members of the Red (9-6, 3-2 Ivy League) for four seasons, seniors Maddie Henry, Taylor Reed, Kirsten Pienaar, Kristen Ferguson, Maddy Conklin played their last regular-season game on Dodson field. With a desire to honor their contributions and unwavering dedication to the team, Cornell entered the field with a burning determination to clinch a celebratory win.
Channeling these emotions, the Red held the advantage in the offensive zone during the first quarter. The Red got its signature quick start with a goal in the ninth minute, scored by sophomore forward Claire Jones on a penalty corner.
Entering the second frame, the Bears (5-10, 1-4 Ivy League) realized that they needed to play catch-up, which prompted a newly-discovered energy. Battling back and forth, the offensively futile quarter was played mostly in the midfield. A one-goal lead did not satisfy the Red, which capitalized on the only shot taken during the entire quarter.
Jones took full advantage of a loose ball in the midfield. Strategically tracking the ball, she sprinted to the 25-yard line, where she sent the ball to the stick of junior forward Grace Royer. With a quick dodge around the goalie, Royer planted the ball in the back of the net, doubling the Red’s lead to end the second quarter.
In the fifth minute of the second half, Jones found the back of the goal once again. After the ball rebounded from a penalty corner shot, junior midfielder Taylor Gladd gained possession. Gladd then redirected the ball to Jones, who tallied her second score of the day.
The Red’s momentum could not be hampered. Sophomore defender Avery Smith notched her first goal of the season just two minutes into the last stanza. Smith redirected Jones’ wide penalty shot past Bears’ goaltender Jodie Brine.
“Going in, we wanted the result to take care of itself and it did,” said head coach Andy Smith. “I thought we were by far the superior team. We did what we needed to do and it was a good result for us.”
The emotionally-charged win on Saturday, however, did not provide the Red enough fuel to tackle Syracuse (11-5, 2-3 Atlantic Coast). After edging out the Orange in its season opener, the Red could not replicate that result as it suffered a two-goal loss.
“Going into the first game, everyone put everything out there on the field,” Smith said. “In the game [Sunday], I questioned that from quite a lot of people. We weren’t there mentally today. We paid for that.”
Two first-quarter goals by the Orange proved to be lethal for the Red, which trailed for the duration of the game. Cornell failed to respond to either of the Orange’s points.
The Red regrouped to enter the second quarter. Attempting to kickstart a comeback, the Red scored a goal in the first minute of the stanza. Jones and freshman forward Bridget Mahoney worked in tandem to capitalize on a penalty corner and bridge the scoring gap. Mahoney tipped Jones’ powerful shot past Orange goalie Sarah Sinck.
Going into the second half, the Red still faced a one-goal deficit. Syracuse, on the other hand, was not satisfied with such a feeble scoring advantage. In the third quarter, it notched its third and final goal of the game, which was left unanswered by the Red, despite its efforts for the remaining 20 minutes of play.
“We had to chase the game from behind just to get it back on level terms — we did get one back, but we couldn’t get the second,” Smith said. “In all fairness, they wanted it more than we did. They put more effort into the game than we did. They played a lot smarter than we did as an entire group.”
After mixed results this weekend, the Red will focus its efforts on its next competitor — Princeton. The Ivy League showdown will take place next Saturday in Princeton at 12 p.m.