First Ivy win for women’s soccer comes in front of families

Early offensive outburst spurs Bruno past Big Red at home

Sports Editor
Monday, October 27, 2014

Kirsten Belinsky ’15 battles a Cornell player for the ball. Through defensive efforts like Belinsky’s, the Bears notched their third shutout of the year.

Despite playing well in the Ivy League this season, the women’s soccer team was still seeking its first conference win as it entered its Family Weekend contest with Cornell. With a pair of first-half goals and a stout defense, the Bears found the elusive win Sunday.

The Bears (6-6-3, 1-2-2 Ivy) have shown the ability to compete with the best in the league, tying second-place Dartmouth and third-place Columbia earlier this season, but getting a win was crucial for the team’s confidence, said captain Chloe Cross ’15.

“It was really important for the team to get that win,” she said. “Hopefully we can keep it going into our last two games.”

Cornell (7-8-0, 1-4-0) ranks in the middle of the league in most offensive and defensive categories, but the Big Red has struggled to put it all together and pick up wins against Ivy foes, falling to the conference cellar.

In Sunday’s game, a pair of underclassmen doomed Cornell.

Mikela Waldman ’18, who has been a critical part of the Bruno offense since stepping onto campus this fall, scored the go-ahead tally just 22 minutes into the game. The first-year’s chip narrowly missed the goalie’s outstretched arms and floated into the corner of the net.

“Mikela’s speed is definitely an offensive threat,” Cross said. “She did a great job getting behind their back line on the goal today and putting it away.”

But the talented rookie credited a perfect assist from teammate Allie Reilly ’15 with setting her up for the decisive strike.

“I saw Allie get the ball in the middle third. I know she can play great balls in, so I started making my run,” Waldman said. “She found me in stride. I just got my foot on it, and luckily it went over the keeper and into the net.”

Bruno continued to dominate the first half — firing off seven more shots than its Ithaca, New York, counterparts — and the offensive onslaught produced another goal 15 minutes later.

Carly Gould ’17 used some tactical footwork to find an open alley from the left side of the box. She booted a top-shelfer that sailed above the leaping goalie to double the Bruno advantage.

After Waldman and Gould gave Bruno the lead, it was up to its senior goalkeeper — the Ivy leader in saves — to secure it. Mallory Yant ’15 thwarted a Big Red comeback and turned in her third shutout of the season, despite a flurry of Big Red shots after the game’s midpoint. Four Cornell shots on goal were turned away in the final 45 minutes.

“Mallory came up with some big saves in the second half,” Cross said, citing her classmate as the most important component of the Bruno defense Sunday.

Penn (5-5-3, 1-3-1), another team that has struggled against conference competition, welcomes the Bears to Philadelphia this weekend. The Quakers have scored the fewest goals of any Ivy League team this season.

At this point, an Ivy title is out of reach for the Bears, but their last two contests come against teams in the bottom half of the conference. With solid play, Bruno could round out its Ivy record for a middling finish.

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