Women’s soccer took the pitch on Friday night in its first matchup of the season against an Ivy League opponent. Following a 2-0-4 start to the season, the Red (2-1-4, 0-1 Ivy) picked up its first loss at the hands of No. 14 Princeton (6-1-1, 1-0-0 Ivy) by a final score of 4-2.
Within the first few minutes of the opening half, Cornell had two strong scoring chances, with both coming up short. Senior forward Ava Laden’s shot went over the crossbar, and sophomore midfielder Mariana Kessinger’s strike was stopped by Princeton goalkeeper Tyler McCamey.
The Red’s attack continued with it taking five of the first seven shots of the game, but none could find the back of the net. In the 30th minute, Princeton midfielder Jen Estes found an opening and put the Tigers up 1-0 off a pass from midfielder Lily Bryant.
Thirteen minutes later, Princeton midfielder Aria Nagai tacked on another score when the ball slipped past goalkeeper Natalie Medugno.
Despite recording more shots than the Tigers in the first half, the Red could not seem to find the right look, as the match stood at 2-0 in favor of Princeton at the half.
Head Coach Rob Ferguson reflected on the team’s play throughout the first 45 minutes, emphasizing the Red’s determination while playing a top-ranked opponent.
“We felt very unfortunate to be behind at halftime,” Ferguson said. “Those two late goals really changed the complexion of things. We felt we had done enough, maybe even to be in front heading towards the break, and then we were two down. That’s the reality of playing the top teams in the country.”
Ferguson also recognized Cornell’s ability to generate opportunities in the first half but identified how the team needs to improve in the future.
“We were brave and confident in the first half, connected well, created chances and limited them in the ways we had planned, which was good, but we have to learn to be more clinical in both 18-yard boxes,” Ferguson said.
After scoring twice in the first 45 minutes, the Tigers brought its momentum into the second half, dominating the next 20 minutes and creating opportunity after opportunity. In the 56th and 61st minutes, Princeton capitalized on their extensive chances, as midfielder Marissa Hart and forward Lexi Hiltunen’s goals put the Tigers up 4-0.
With ten minutes left to play, senior midfielder Kendall Patten recorded her first collegiate goal, as a pass deflected off the shoulder of a Princeton defender led Patten to a one-on-one against McCamey.
Minutes later, the Red scored the final goal of the match as sophomore midfielder Abigail Bishara dribbled the ball down the pitch before jumping and shooting over McCamey.
“[I am] proud of what the team put in on many levels, especially in the first half and the final 15 minutes,” Ferguson said. “Happy for [Patten] to get her first goal and proud of the commitment to keep going until the end, trying to get back in it.”
With the loss, the Red looks to get back in the win column when they take on Colgate (2-7-2, 1-1-1 Patriot), at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at Berman Field. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN+.