Coming off its first Ivy League win since November 2016, Cornell women’s soccer was unable to carry its momentum into Saturday’s contest, falling to a battle-tested University of Pennsylvania squad by a score of 0-2.
On Tuesday, though, the Red was able to bounce back, securing a gritty 2-1 home victory against Colgate.
After falling behind 1-0 early in the second half against Colgate, the Red responded with determination and energy. In the 61st minute, a mere three minutes after Colgate’s score, freshman midfielder Reinna Gabriel tied the game up with her first-ever collegiate goal. Assisted by the Red’s offensive anchor — sophomore forward Ava Laden — Gabriel’s goal finally rewarded the Red after 60 minutes of dominating possession.
“It’s such a rush to see the ball go in the back of the net, so that is really exciting,” Gabriel said.
Just minutes after the goal, Laden received an untimely yellow card. But the penalty was of no detriment to the team’s determination. Minutes later, senior midfielder Aidan Julia Reineman launched a corner kick to the near post, forcing Colgate’s defender to make a play on the ball. Attempting to head the ball out of the box, the Raiders’ defender misdirected the ball into the back of the net, giving the Red a 2-1 lead that would hold strong until the final whistle.
The Red dominated play in all areas of the game, and it kept the Raiders’ keeper on her toes. While Head Coach Rob Ferguson said he’s proud of the team’s victory and its ability to bounce back from a one-goal deficit, he remains focused on perfection.
“I’m disappointed,” Ferguson said. “We shouldn’t have been a goal behind and we shouldn’t have had to do what we did to come back and win.”
Junior goalkeeper Nicole Shulman made her return to the pitch having recovered from a back injury that has kept her off the field for two years. After what felt like endless hours of rehab, Shulman said she could not be more excited about being able to play again.
“I’ve really missed this feeling,” Shulman said. “It’s what I work for every day.”
From the sideline, Shulman was able to watch the team progress from one game to the next, adding that the team’s performance is not always linear.
Coming off the high of a win, the Red will face off against undefeated Harvard at 1 p.m. Saturday at Berman Field. Harvard is the first opponent that the Red will face in a five-game conference slate to close out the season. And as the lone undefeated team in the Ivy League, the Crimson will present a significant challenge, but Ferguson is not intimidated.
“They’ll come in here expecting to continue their form and winning run, and we plan and expect to end it. That’s the goal going in,” Ferguson said. “We’re excited about it. We’ve beaten Columbia, given UPenn a proper game and lost it because of a few little moments and beaten Colgate comfortably, so we’re in a good place.”