Jason Wu/Sun Senior Editor

M/F Tatum Nelson '26 dribbles into the box against Princeton, Berman Field, Oct. 29, 2022.

September 14, 2023

Defensive Battle Against Buffalo Ends in 1-1 Draw for Women’s Soccer

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Following a 1-0 shutout victory against regional rival Syracuse University, women’s soccer (2-0-2, 0-0 Ivy), led by Ivy League Defender of the Week Cecily Pokigo, traveled to face the University at Buffalo Bulls (3-1-2, 0-0 MAC) on Sunday. 

Buffalo came into the game having only dropped one home game in the last two seasons and led the series record with the Red, 4-3-2, securing the last meeting between the two teams in August 2018.

The Red’s and Bulls’s defenders starred during the first 15 minutes, swiping at balls and limiting scoring opportunities. Cornell senior defender Jackie Lasseter slid over to her right, halting Bulls’ midfielder Katie Krohn’s attack, and moments later, freshman defender Kayla Ristianto turned away another possession.

In her first start of the season, senior goalkeeper Erica Fox had her first save chance of the afternoon when Buffalo midfielder Mika Marolly received a pass through the middle of the field by midfielder Olivia Bizzoni. With a shot on goal between two Cornell defenders, Fox managed to secure the ball, putting away any chance of Buffalo taking the lead.

Marolly’s shot remained the only one of the game before Bulls’ midfielder Sarah Woods took control of the ball in the 17th minute. Weaving through traffic on the right side of the field, Woods dribbled and shot, the ball bouncing in front of Fox, who scooped it up.

Cornell’s offense remained quiet during the first 20 minutes, with minor openings but no shots on goal. With 25 minutes left in the half, the Red made three personnel changes, sparking better looks and a shot by junior forward Reinna Gabriel minutes later.

Later in the half, the Bulls once again found themselves with a scoring opportunity. A feed from Krohn led to a shot from Bizzoni in front of the goal, but Fox dove to her left and the ball never crossed the goal line.

On the Bulls’ offensive side, the best opportunity of the first half came at the 32nd minute. After a clear down the field, Buffalo forward Arianna Zumpano secured possession, chipping the ball into the center, but an athletic play by Ristianto kept them off the board.

As the first half came to a close, Buffalo defender Ellie Simmons committed a foul in front of the goal, giving a free kick to senior midfielder Reagan Pauwels. The strong boot nearly slipped past goalkeeper Lexie Thompson, but Thompson dove and deflected the ball, leading to a putback score for junior forward Maddie Leroy and giving Cornell a 1-0 lead. 

Right off the bat in the second half, Krohn came out with energy, splitting the Red defense before she could get off a shot. However, scoring chances seemed to pile on for the Bulls with a chance to get on the board in the 58th minute. Zumpano dribbled past a defender, passing the ball in Krohn’s direction and forcing a collision between Fox and Krohn. As the ball rolled away, Krohn quickly recovered, punching the ball in and knotting the game at one apiece. 

Physical play continued from both teams throughout the final 30 minutes, with the first corner kick of the game occurring for the Bulls in the 59th minute, followed by another in the 73rd minute. 

A giveaway late in the second half by Buffalo set up a grade A chance for senior forward Ava Laden, who’s shot was blocked by Thompson.

Laden’s opportunity proved to be Cornell’s last, as both teams exchanged possessions and the clock ran out.

With the draw, the Red looks to get back in the win column against State University of New York at Binghamton (1-4-2, 0-0 America East) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Berman Field.