Women’s Soccer Takes Down Rival Cornell

Mike LeClair

Colgate once again demonstrated its superiority over upstate New York rival Cornell, this time in women’s soccer. The Colgate women, always with a flair for the dramatic, waited until the last 20 seconds of overtime to score the game-winning goal to seal the inevitable win against the Big Red.

The Raiders came into the match after a productive weekend spell, where they went 1-1-1 against Vermont, Hartford and Princeton. Cornell’s women, on the other hand, came into this heated rivalry match in a severe losing streak, having failed to win since their opening match against Oakland University in early September.

The match opened with a bang as junior defender Kala Neilson scored off a corner kick to give Cornell the 1-0 advantage just five minutes in. Colgate, who has been “battling a lot of injuries,” according to Head Coach Kathy Brawn, shook the fatigue out of their legs and quickly focused on the task at hand. The attitude change was quickly rewarded, as sophomore forward Anna Baldwin leveled the score at one just three minutes after Cornell’s goal. The Big Red however, did not fall prey to the emotional let-down that often happens after a quick response, and kept up the pressure throughout the half, and Colgate first-year goalkeeper Rebecca Michlin was forced to make seven first-half saves. Despite Michlin’s stellar performance, Cornell managed to net another goal in the first half when sophomore defender Cristina Law scored off yet another corner. The shot count in the first half was about even, with Cornell taking 14 shots to Colgate’s 13. The Raiders lackluster finishing was clear throughout, as Colgate managed just four shots on goal to Cornell’s nine.

“We’ve been looking for finishing,” Head Coach Brawn said.

The finishing was much improved in the second half for Colgate, as they put massive amounts of pressure on the Cornell goal. The defense was also much improved, not conceding a single shot on goal for the entire second half. Down 2-1, Colgate had to press for a tying goal and got it on a breakaway in the 55th minute, as junior midfielder Jessica Bitsack tallied her third goal of the campaign. Colgate continued to pressure, and the frustration got to the Big Red, culminating with a red card being issued to sophomore midfielder Katie Hayes. The Colgate attack stepped up after earning the man advantage, but Cornell’s young goalkeeper Megan Bartlett stood tall in the goal, making seven second-half saves to force the match into overtime.

Cornell’s defense bunkered down in overtime, hoping for a much-needed draw that would provide a huge boost to team morale. They were largely successful, not allowing a shot on goal until the very end of the second overtime period. With 20 seconds remaining in the match, Colgate’s first-year defender Ellie Schmidt slid a perfect pass to junior midfielder Jillian Arnault at the top of the penalty area. Arnault made no mistake in her finish, hammering her shot into the upper corner of the goal from 20 yards out, giving Colgate a dramatic 3-2 victory over the hated rivals from Ithaca. The win also continued Colgate’s winning streak over Cornell, as this match was the fifth consecutive Colgate victory.

The win gives Colgate a positive mindset heading into Patriot League play. The Raiders, predicted to finish third in the Patriot League by fellow coaches and sporting directors in the conference, open up their league campaign against American tomorrow in Washington, D.C., before heading home to face Army in their first conference home game of the season on Friday, October 10th.