Field Hockey entered this past weekend with a .500 record (8-8), hoping to finish strong with a win over Yale (9-8). Though the Red could only finish fourth in the Ivy League at best, a victory would provide momentum leading into next season, and would end the season on a high note.
However, the finale did not go the way the Red hoped, as it dropped its final game of the season, 2-1, on the road in New Haven. The team closed out the year with an 8-9 record, including a 3-4 mark in Ivy League play.
It appeared as though the Red would have a chance to finish its season with a win, as it struck first in the opening period. For the final time this year, the trustworthy trifecta of junior midfielder Bridget Mahoney, senior defender Kate MacGillis and junior defender Caroline Ramsey came together to convert a goal off a penalty corner. The score marked Ramsey’s 18th goal of the season, which led all other Ivy League players by two.
The remainder of the half would be a possession battle, as the Bulldogs fired off more shots than the Red but were unable to find the back of the net. The match went to halftime with Cornell leading 1-0.
The Red’s demise came in the third quarter, as the Bulldogs came roaring out of the locker room. The Bulldogs tied the game at one apiece less than two minutes into the quarter, when senior midfielder Imogen Davies scored an unassisted goal.
Three minutes later, it was Davies once again connecting to put the Bulldogs up for good. The Red was unable to generate any offense in the second half, and it was eventually outshot 20-9 by the Bulldogs. The Red also had fewer shots on goal (11-3) as well as fewer penalty corners (8-3).
The game ended with a 2-1 final score, and the Red left the field for the final time this year on a disappointing note. Head Coach Andy Smith chalked the result up to an energy issue.
“We were just very flat. We didn’t have a lot of energy,” Smith said. “We didn’t play as well as we could have.”
Despite the loss, the Red still had a strong showing from junior goalkeeper Aerin Park, who notched nine saves on the day, good enough for her season high. She finished the season with 63 saves and 24 goals allowed over 16 games played. Her average goals allowed per game mark of 1.605 was good enough for second in the Ivy League, displaying how crucial she has been for the team this season.
“She’s been outstanding all season,” Smith said. “In my opinion, one of the top two goalkeepers in the league along with the Harvard goalkeeper, and we’re excited we’ve got more of her to come next year.”
Still, this was a season of missed opportunity for the Red. The team found itself in a number of close matchups, including multiple games in which it blew leads, that would have significantly changed its final record. Smith would be one of the first to admit this, but he remains optimistic for the team next fall.
“It’s one of those nearly seasons,” Smith said. “We’ve dropped nine games this season and we could have won seven of them. We’ll be stronger next year. We’ll have more depth next year and we’ve got some better players coming in. I don’t think 8-9 is a fair reflection of the team we were this season.”
With only five seniors on the team this season, the Red will have a similar lineup in the fall of 2022. For now, the offseason begins, as the Red looks to prepare for an improved season both within the Ivy League and overall next year.