On a cold afternoon at Berman Field, the Red closed the book on a disappointing season with a 2-1 loss to Columbia and a nine-game losing skid. Freshman midfielder Samantha Weiner scored late in the first half to answer an early Columbia goal before Ashley Mistele countered, giving Columbia (8-5-4, 3-3-1 Ivy) the 2-1 lead that it held onto for the entire second half.
The Cornell (4-12, 0-7) defensive unit wilted under the pressure of Columbia’s five-forward attack early in the game, as Columbia senior standout Gudrun Finnsdottir took off down the sideline and crossed it to a waiting Liz deBerardinis, who finished by shooting from her left foot to the opposite side of the goal, past defender-turned-goalkeeper Jen Case.
Cornell will look to close a disappointing season on a high note at home against Columbia this weekend, still searching for its first Ivy League win of the year. Cornell (4-11, 0-6 Ivy) takes the field on its senior day, hoping to mark the occasion by spoiling Columbia’s (7-5-4, 2-3-1) bid for a .500 Ivy League campaign.
Two struggling Ivy League teams will square off in Hanover, N.H., tomorrow as Cornell will take on Dartmouth. Both teams have struggled in conference play of late, with the Green securing just one win in its last six games and the Red dropping seven straight. For both cellar-dwellers, the game represents a promising chance to end the 2007 campaign with a rare league win.
The Red (4-10, 0-5 Ivy) has fallen considerably short of its preseason goal of contending for the Ivy League crown. After several torpid defeats, however, the team showed signs of life at second-place Princeton last weekend, losing 1-0. Despite giving up an early goal to the Tigers, the Red had chances to tie the game late in the second half.
Cornell dropped its seventh straight affair on Saturday at Princeton, 1-0. The Tigers (8-5-1, 4-1 Ivy), who occupy the Ivy League’s second position after losing to league-leading Harvard last week, scored in the ninth minute to take the lead and the eventual win.
The Red (4-10, 0-5), who was a heavy underdog going into the matchup, played a conservative scheme as it attempted to slow down All-Ivy and Canadian National team midfielder Diana Matheson, arguably the most dangerous player in the conference.
Every time a team goes through the kind of slide the Red is — having lost six straight games bu shutout and a handful of starters to injury — bench players are given the chance to step up and add a spark to the lineup.
The insertion of sophomore Kala Neilson into the lineup represents just such a move for the team. For Neilson, however, the change represents much more: it is another stage in her up-and-down journey as a Cornell athlete.
When freshman goalkeeper Jodi Palmer got a call from new Head coach Danielle LaRoche in August, she though their discussion might cover practice schedules, transportation arrangements or any other details that incoming freshmen have to deal with. One thing she didn’t expect, however, was that she had been named the starting goalkeeper even before setting foot on a college field.
Palmer is at the center of the Red’s transition to the future, highlighted by LaRoche, its young, attack-oriented and fiery new coach, and freshman Lena Russomagno, the dynamic forward who led the team in goals scored prior to its recent slump. The Red front line was made up of two freshmen, Russomagno and Natalie Zandt, along with sophomore Eva Dixon prior to midseason injuries to both Zandt and Dixon.
Cornell’s swoon continued this weekend in New Haven, where the team was shut out, 5-0, by Yale. The Red failed to score a goal for the fifth straight game as its defense struggled to keep up with the Bulldog attack, one of the highest scoring in the league.
The women’s soccer team’s recent woes continued this weekend at home against Harvard (7-3-1, 1-1), where it dropped a crucial Ivy League matchup, 1-0. The loss was the Red’s (4-7, 0-2 Ivy) fourth straight defeat of the season.
The two teams played evenly for most of the first half, with Red freshman goalkeeper Jodi Palmer playing some of her best soccer of the season in stopping all three shots that came her way. The Harvard defense stifled the Red offensively for most of the half and allowed only two shots on goal.
This Sunday at Berman Field, the Red closed the book on more than just its undefeated home record — the disappointing 3-0 loss to local rival Colgate marked the end of its non-conference slate this year. The team can now fully turn its attention to the heart of its season, the Ivy League schedule.
Cornell has already played one Ivy game this year, a disheartening 1-0 loss to Penn in which the Red burned itself with an own-goal in the ninth minute. Despite the loss, the team continues to aim for the league title this year.
“Right now, four teams have a win and four teams have a loss,” said freshman midfielder Laura Buerkle. “So the title is still there for the taking and we really feel like we can beat any team if we play our game.”
After an early season start that featured three overtime games and a 4-0 home mark, the Red begins its Ivy League campaign tonight in Philadelphia, taking on Penn. Sunday, the Red returns to Ithaca for a duel against longtime non-conference foe Colgate to end its non-conference season.
The Red (4-4) is still searching for its first road win this season — but the Quakers’ game takes on much more significance than that. Like the Red, the Quakers (5-2-1) struggled in the 2006 season: they won only one conference game in Ivy League play and it came against Cornell.