On Oct. 28, women’s soccer (4-5-6, 0-5-2 Ivy) traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to take on the University of Pennsylvania (6-7-3, 1-4-2 Ivy) in the final match of the season.
Coming into Saturday’s matchup, both teams were looking for their first win of the season against an Ivy League opponent, with draws and losses filling the standings thus far through the season.
The Red came out aggressive, with senior midfielder Kendall Patten taking a shot on the Quakers’ goalkeeper Laurence Gladu within the first two minutes. A minute later, senior forward Mia Gonzalez took a shot of her own but missed the net entirely, keeping the match at no score through the early part.
The Quakers did not have a shot on goal until the 29th minute, but the kick towards the bottom center of the net was saved by junior goalkeeper Erica Fox.
Chippiness was on full display throughout the first half, with 12 total fouls between both teams including eight from Cornell. Despite this, neither team could break the tie until the 37th minute. Following a Penn foul a minute earlier, sophomore Tanum Nelson found the back of the net to put the Red up 1-0 with a shot to the bottom right of the goal.
The score remained the same until the 56th minute when Penn tied the match. Forward Mia Fuss found an opening and punched the ball in the top left of the goal.
Later in the half, following multiple opportunities from either team, Penn added its second score of the match with a shot towards the bottom left of the net from forward Abbey Cook.
As time continued to dwindle, Cornell only recorded two more shots, with one being saved and the other off target. Penn’s defense finished strong and limited the shot selection, securing the 2-1 win against the Red.
“[I was] very happy with the first half performance,” head coach Rob Ferguson said. “[We] controlled the game very well on both sides of the ball. The frustration today lies in not finding the second goal in the first half or when our moments came while up 1-0 in the second half. We certainly had enough moments to put the game to bed.”
With the match being the final of the season, Ferguson emphasized the work of his seniors and the lasting legacy they have left on the program.
“I’m thankful for what this group of seniors have done over the four years,” Ferguson said. “They are leaving this program in a very different place than they found it, and for that they can be incredibly proud. Now we all need to build on this massively positive change, and ensure we improve each and every season, on a culture level and on the field.”
With the loss, Cornell concluded the 2023 season with a .467 win percentage, which was the program’s best overall mark since 2015.
”It’s a tough way to end, but we have a lot of on-field positives and growth to take from this season,” Ferguson said. “More importantly, we know the areas in which we need to improve, on and off the field, and that work starts today. Onwards and upwards.”