W. Soccer Meets Struggling Cornell
While the gridders heat it up at Cornell’s version of the Stadium, Harvard’s No. 11 ranked women’s soccer team will square off against the Big Red.
The Crimson (6-1, 2-0 Ivy) compete with a Cornell (2-4-2, 1-1 Ivy) team that is mired in a five-game winless streak, while Harvard has not given up a goal—save for one penalty shot—in its last five games.
That span of almost 580 scoreless minutes is a testament to the quality defensive effort put up across the board by the Crimson. That span includes wins over two top-25 ranked teams, Marquette and UMass.
“The team is working as a whole right now,” senior forward co-captain Caitlin Costello said.
The superb play has not gone un-noticed around the rest of the Ivy League. This past week Harvard junior keeper Cheryl Gunther was honored as Ivy League Player of the Week.
Gunther has been stingy in goal, giving up only six goals despite 42 shots being fired her way.
Joining Gunther on the league honor roll was freshman back Liza Barber, who scored her first career goal in the 2-1 overtime victory over Marquette.
Costello and junior forward Joey Yenne power Harvard offensively. Costello has been the biggest offensive spark this year, recording her sixth goal in the most recent game, a 1-0 win over Boston College on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Yenne has 3 goals and 3 assists.
Cornell also had a player elected to the honor roll this week. The league recognized Erica Olsen after she recorded five shots this past week in two Cornell losses.
Harvard’s consistent and quality play has finally been noticed nationally. This is the first week that Harvard has been listed in the top-25 national rankings. Harvard jumped from un-ranked to number 11, a considerable feat.
“Everyone was pretty shocked,” Yenne said. “It made everyone a little nervous.”
Along with the national ranking, Harvard has been pegged the number one school in the Northeast region. Cornell is ranked in neither the nation nor the region.
Cornell’s big win of the season came in the form of a 1-0 victory over Yale on September 22. Harvard bested Yale by the same score two weeks ago, suggesting that tomorrow’s contest could be close.
“Being ranked so high, every team we play is gunning for us,” Yenne said. “If they beat us, it will make their season.”
Co-captain Sarah Olsen leads Cornell’s struggling offense with three goals on the year. No other Cornell player has more than one.
Cornell’s goalkeeper Katie Thomas has given up 10 goals but has 58 saves while playing in each of the Big Red’s eight games.
While Cornell has registered eight goals, Harvard’s explosive offense has scored 15. The Crimson’s solid defense has only allowed six.
“The defense, as young as it is, is just awesome, ” Yenne said.
But besides strong on-field play, the Harvard women feel they are in the correct mindset, too.
“We are running on a lot of confidence right now,” Costello said.
Harvard has an even tougher week ahead as Boston University and Princeton come into Cambridge on Wednesday and Saturday. B.U. is ranked tenth in the Northeast while Princeton is fourth in the Mid-Atlantic.
“We can’t look ahead,” Costello said. “No game is an easy game in the Ivy League anymore.”
That includes tomorrow’s contest.
“They are a good team,” Yenne said. “Just young and have some bad moments.”