Entering this past weekend on a two-game win streak, Cornell field hockey had no plans to stop winning. The Red had its first back-to-back set of matches of the season, facing Ivy League rival Columbia at home on Saturday before traveling to Hamilton, New York, to face Colgate on Sunday.
Though the Columbia Lions entered Saturday’s matchup with a 6-1 record — with their sole loss coming at home against Harvard — they proved to be no match for the Red. After a competitive first quarter with no scoring, the team opened up the scoring in the second quarter on a penalty corner, when juniors Natalie Stone, Bridget Mahoney and Caroline Ramsey were able to execute their plan and Ramsey notched her team-leading seventh score.
Shortly after, the Red found the back of the net through open play, when sophomore Elizabeth Friedberg found junior Isabella Palde for her second goal of the season. Palde struck once more before the half ended, this time connecting on a long pass from Ramsey to give the Red a 3-0 lead at halftime.
On the attack, the Red struck quickly in the second half, as Friedberg was able to corral the ball in front of the Lions’ net and keep enough balance to record her first goal of the season. The Red tacked on one more later in the third, when freshman Hanke Govaert found Mahoney for her first goal of the season.
In a strong showing on both sides of the ball, the Red took its second contest in Ivy League play 5-0, the best record it had in a game this season. Despite recording 14 shots throughout the game and five on goal, the Lions were unable to find the back of the net, as junior goalkeeper Aerin Park tied her season-high with five saves.
For junior midfielder Isabella Palde, this burst of offense came with playing more as a team.
“I think the change that was made there was that we focused more on two-touch hockey and passing rather than individual skills,” Palde said. “We were able to connect really well at Columbia with our passing, and it allowed a lot of open play goals as opposed to scoring during corners.”
The Red had little time to celebrate this victory, as they took to the road the following day for a rematch against Colgate. The Red previously faced the Raiders at home on Sept. 12, taking that game 3-1.
The Red started off strong, converting its first attempted penalty corner of the game to take a 1-0 lead in the first. However, Colgate responded later in the quarter, scoring the first goal against the Red in a week. Ramsey responded by netting her ninth goal of the season and Cornell took a 2-1 lead. The Red added to this lead before the half, when Palde recorded her fourth goal of the year off a deflection of a shot by senior Avery Smith to give the Red a 3-1 lead into the half.
In the third quarter, Colgate was able to convert on two penalty corners, tying up the game at 3-3 heading into the fourth quarter. After a steal from a Raider defender, Friedberg found Palde on a sprint past the defense. Palde did a spin past the goalkeeper while maintaining possession and got a backhand shot off to put the Red 4-3 until the final whistle.
“We knew we had to score or essentially we were going to overtime,” Palde said. “I ran up high past the last defender so Friedberg was able to throw the ball over that defender’s stick. It gave me a one-on-one with the goalie and I was able to score.”
Head Coach Andy Smith couldn’t attribute the team’s success against Columbia and Colgate to anything in particular, but was pleased with the result nonetheless.
“It wasn’t necessarily massive adjustments. We did play against Columbia better than we had been all season,” Smith said. “There’s no real answer, no real major adjustments we made, it just came together for a change.”
The Red travels to Philadelphia to face Penn (3-6) on Saturday Oct. 9, and then to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, to face Bucknell (6-4) on Sunday.