Coming into the week with a 10-match home unbeaten streak, the Red looked to extend this record in matchups with Ivy League rivals Columbia (7-2-3, 1-1-2 Ivy) and Harvard (8-3-1, 3-0-1 Ivy).
Cornell took the pitch against Columbia on the afternoon of Oct. 4 and played step for step with the Lions throughout the 90 minutes.
The Red’s only goal of the afternoon came in the 23rd minute, when senior forward Laken Gallman received a pass from senior midfielder Reagan Pauwels in the middle of the field. After securing the pass, Gallman shot to the left corner, finding the back of the net and giving Cornell the 1-0 advantage, which would remain the score through halftime.
As Gallman’s aggressive play led to her first goal of the season, head coach Rob Ferguson emphasized what makes her a special competitor on the team.
“She’s sly, like a little fox,” Ferguson said. “She’s always finding these gaps and knows exactly where to touch the ball when she gets it. There’s no one I’d rather have on the ball on the edge or in the 18. There’s always a chance she’ll find a way to manufacture a goal, and she did exactly that.”
The Lions answered in the second half, netting a goal of its own, when forward Shira Cohen slid to a loose ball in the box and pushed it across the line.
With 16 shots apiece throughout the match, both Cornell and Columbia had opportunities but failed to capitalize. Junior goalkeeper Erica Fox racked up a career-high eight saves, while Columbia goalkeeper Paige Nurkin stopped two Cornell attempts.
“It was a fun game,” Ferguson said. “I’m guessing it was a fun game to watch for the neutrals. I just said to the team that I was very proud of them. I was proud of what they put in against a very good team. They came out here tonight, gave everything they could handle, and, fair play to Columbia, they did the same.”
The match ended as a 1-1 draw, extending the home unbeaten streak to 11 games, and putting it on the line against a fierce Harvard team on Oct. 7.
The first 45 minutes featured a number of blocked and missed shot attempts from both teams. Harvard forward Ólöf Kristinsdóttir had the first true scoring chance when her shot ricocheted off the crossbar in the 31st minute, before Cornell sophomore midfielder Tanum Nelson registered a shot on goal in the 35th minute.
The Crimson’s offensive attack led to the first goal in the 63rd minute, when a free kick by forward Jasmine Leshnick flew over the head of Fox and into the top of the net.
Minutes later, Harvard added another score, with Kristinsdóttir racking up her sixth goal of the season. Later, forward Audrey Francois netted another, putting Harvard up 3-0.
“The performance was excellent,” Ferguson said. “We came into it with a plan created in a short week, and the players delivered. “We needed to keep the game tight, throw some metaphorical punches, and make sure it wasn’t just us sitting back and defending. We did that perfectly in the first half and came out with the same energy, mindset, and plan in the second half.”
Despite the Crimson advantage, the Red did not go down lightly, as Nelson found the back of the net in the 84th minute off of passes from junior midfielder Peyton Nichols and sophomore midfielder Mariana Kessinger.
Hoping to rebound from its first loss at Berman Field in 11 matches, Cornell will take on Yale (5-4-3, 0-3-1 Ivy), at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14 in New Haven, Connecticut. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN+.