Despite falling into a one-goal hole in the first half of this weekend’s contest, the Cornell field hockey team notched three second-half goals to earn a 3-2 victory against Dartmouth in its final game of the season.
After a period of offensively-futile play, the Green (4-13, 0-7 Ivy League) took control of the game in the second quarter, placing a backhand shot from the middle of the circle into the Red’s goal. Even with four shots on goal, the Red (10-7, 4-3 Ivy) struggled to erase the Green’s first period edge.
Recognizing the importance of the last game of the season, the Red regrouped during halftime and entered the field ready to play catch-up. In the sixth minute of the second half, freshman midfielder Caroline Ramsey found the back of the net to tie the game at one apiece.
Dartmouth didn’t give up their lead so easily, however. With just two minutes left in the third period, Dartmouth captured a one-goal lead once again.
Sophomore forward Claire Jones neutralized the score at 2-2 in the second minute of the fourth quarter, when she fired a penalty corner shot past the Dartmouth goaltender.
“At the beginning of the fourth quarter we talked about how we knew that we were the better team — that we just need to reset and resettle and take care of our opportunities,” head coach Andy Smith said. “We did that in the fourth quarter.”
With just minutes left of play and the season-closing result coming down the wire, Jones once again displayed her penalty-corner prowess. With an assist from junior midfielder Taylor Gladd and junior forward Grace Royer, Jones notched the game-winning goal.
The Red held the Green to only three penalty corners. Considering the team allowed Princeton 13 penalty corners the week prior, the result was a welcome development.
“We talked about it all week — the concept of where we wanted to make tackles and where we didn’t,” Smith said. “We talked about really being disciplined in our individual defense circle. A goal for us today was to allow less than four penalty corners — we gave up three, which I was really pleased about today. I think we played really well in our defensive circle.”
One win away from the chance to play in the NCAA tournament, the team closed out the year with 10 wins and seven losses. The 2019 record is especially impressive in comparison to last year’s performance, when the team secured a measly five wins and suffered 12 losses.
“We have been in every game and battled very hard this year,” Smith said. “Yes, we got it wrong on a couple of occasions — tactically we did not always put our best hockey out on the field, but I think it has been quite a solid start.”
The revitalization of the team for the 2019 season in Smith’s first season as head coach was evident. The team scored 34 goals this season compared to 20 last year; the Red held its opponents to 33 goals this year, compared to 42 last season.
“We are getting there. We have made some great strides,” Smith said. “We will get after it in the spring, and we look forward to putting our best foot out on the field in August next year.”