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Contested call hurts field hockey in loss

Penalty stroke proves painful as Bears can’t score on Big Red, fall to seventh in Ivy League

For all the records and accomplishments of this year’s field hockey team, the Bears consistently stumble when faced with one hurdle: Ivy League opponents. Bruno (9-5, 1-4 Ivy) went down early to Cornell (10-4, 4-1) under some questionable circumstances and could not recover, allowing two second half goals that put the game away.

After about a minute and 30 seconds of play, Cornell was able to enter the Brunonian crease before a whistle blew, which members of both teams initially assumed was a standard penalty corner for an infraction by Katarina Angus ’17 in the box. But when the players realized that one of the referee’s hands was raised and the other was pointing to the middle of the crease to indicate a penalty stroke, Cornell’s squad expressed positive surprise while the Bears argued intentsely.

And when Big Red sweeper Marisa Siergiej converted the stroke, no amount of remonstrating by Angus — who was the Bears’ best player on the day — could convince the referee to reconsider his decision.

“It was a real shame to have a stroke called in the first few minutes of the game,” said Head Coach Jill Reeve. “In my opinion, the call should have been a corner. Being behind a goal right out of the gate changes the complexion of the entire match,” she said, adding that Bruno “responded well to the setback.”

The Bears accrued three penalty corners to Cornell’s one in the first half but were unable to convert on any of them. Meghan O’Donnell ’15  — Brown’s career leader in goals scored — was double- and triple-teamed for the majority of the game, with Siergiej helping out the side back who was tasked with marking the electrifying senior.

Brown came out of the gates in the second half quickly, with the ever-lively Katherine Kallergis ’18 coming close with a shot three minutes after the start of the period. But Cornell was able to take advantage of its second corner of the game and the first of the second half, as Siergiej tipped a shot from her teammate Ann DiPastina past Bruno goalie Shannon McSweeney ’15. The goal set the momentum firmly in favor of the Big Red who were relatively unchallenged defensively before Katy Weeks took advantage of a defensive miscue to score and all but put the Bears away.

Despite some lethargic play from the Brown offense, it was Cornell’s tactics that neutralized the strength of the Bears. Cornell Head Coach Donna Hornibrook isolated forward Krysten Mayers up top, dropping forwards Weeks and Isabel Josephs into midfield, halting any offensive build-up play from the Brown midfielders and forcing them to defend for the majority of the game.

The loss continued a pattern of Ivy defeats for the Bears, who are now 1-4 against conference opponents, giving up a total of 20 goals and scoring only five in those games. For all that Brown has attained this year, it has been unable to get over the Ivy hump.

“There are no pushovers in the Ivy League,” Reeve said. “Every team has great talent and they are well coached. I think we will get some positive results as we continue the rest of this season.”

The Bears — despite their conference shortcomings — have been resilient coming off losses this season, following each defeat with a win so far. And with a trip to Pennsylvania coming up this weekend to play Penn, the Bears are looking to continue that streak and break their lackluster streak against conference opponents.

“Our team is playing really well, and they know it,” Reeve said. “It’s just a matter of finishing the chances we create.” The Bears “are hungry for a few more wins and to make a mark in the league,” she said. “We have the capacity, we just need to put it together for 70 minutes.”


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