With the spring semester already having begun at Dartmouth but around the corner for the rest of the Ancient Eight, The Crimson takes a look at the fall semester for each athletic program and the season that was in each major fall sport. Next up, the Cornell Big Red.
Before the season began, Cornell was picked to finish third in the Ivy League and was even given two first-place votes. The season began well, with victories in two of the team’s first three games (including a 39 point drubbing of Yale). However, the week after Cornell lost by 32 in Cambridge and would only win two games the remainder of the season, one a 37-35 thriller over Princeton in which NFL prospect Jeff Mathews threw for 525 yards and four touchdowns against a porous Tigers secondary. Mathews accounted for 3,196 yards through the air and 18 touchdowns, both tops in the conference as receivers Luke Tasker, Gren Gellatly, and Kurt Ondash finished one-two-three in the conference in receiving yards. Cornell’s defense—which gave up 452 yards a game, proved to be the team’s downfall as the team lost three games in which it put up at least 27 points.
The Cornell volleyball team improved by two victories and one place in the Ancient Eight standings in 2012, winning five of its last ten games to climb to sixth place in the Ivy League. The squad started by dropping three of its first four league decisions but rebounded and won nine of its final 14 sets, including a 3-1 victory over the second-place Princeton Tigers. Cornell had not beaten Princeton in six years. Outside Hitter Kelly Marble starred for the big red, playing the most matches and sets of any player in the conference and leading the conference in service aces and finishing second in kills.
After finishing seventh in 2011, the 2012 Cornell golf team has slipped to last in the Ancient Eight standings after its first three tournaments. The team’s scores are virtually identical to those from last year, and after sporting no golfers in the top 25 in the past season, junior Carl Schimenti ranks 19th in the Ivy League in 2012.
A difficult campaign for the Cornell women’s soccer team ended without an Ivy League win and only one win in sixteen contests. The team gave up 42 goals in 16 matches but only 14 in seven conference contests. First-year coach Patrick Farmer and the team struggled to close out the season after a promising four game stretch in October where, despite outscoring opponents 5-4, the team managed only a 1-2-1 record. In the final two games of the season, the team gave up eight goals, scoring only one in defeats to Princeton and Dartmouth. Sophomore midfielder Claire MacManus and senior forward Maneesha Chitanvis were named to the All-Ivy League Second team after the season, a bright spot in a winless Ivy campaign.
Just two years after finishing last in the Ivy League, the Cornell men’s soccer team completed the turnaround in finishing 15-2 on the season and 6-1 in the league, capturing its first Ancient Eight title since 1995. Over the past two years, the Big Red flipped a -3 goal differential into a +26 one and made the NCAA Championships before 1-0 to Syracuse in the first round. The Big Red exploded out of the gate with 12 straight wins. After the season, junior Daniel Haber was named a First-Team All-American and signed a professional soccer contract with Israel’s Maccabi Haifa, forgoing his senior year of eligibility and starting an immediate leave of absence.
After dropping six of its first seven decisions to begin the season, the Cornell field hockey team won six matches in a row in the highlight of a 2012 campaign that saw it finish fourth in the Ancient Eight. Three one-goal losses left the Big Red behind Dartmouth and Columbia. Forward Hannah Balleza ranked third in the Ivy League with 35 points, while goalie Carolyn Horner ranked second in the Ancient Eight with 1.88 goals-against average.