Cornell cruised to victory. (Photo from Cornell)

Editor’s Note: This story was written by and republished with the permission of the Big Red Sports Network, which provides excellent Cornell sports coverage throughout the year for alumni, parents, students and fans everywhere.

Ithaca, N.Y. — Elizabeth Crowell tallied two goals, and Caroline Growney added a goal and two assists in Cornell’s (3-0-0) 5-0 walloping of the Virginia Military Institute (1-4-0) on Friday night.

On a chilly early September night in front of 220 at Berman Field, the Big Red flexed its possession muscles, as Cornell dominated the game from the onset.

Introducing a new back line in front of the home crowd, Coach Farmer and the team had an impressive start to their home campaign of the 2014 season.

Although only ahead by one goal at the half, on an early Meera Marhoefer tap-in, the Big Red were dominating the VMI squad, who had no answer for the speed and skill of Cornell’s top offensive attack.

Cornell cruised to victory. (Photo from Cornell)
Cornell cruised to victory. (Photo from Cornell)

After Marhoefer’s early goal 10 minutes in, nicely set up by the double team of Dempsey Banks and Caroline Growney, VMI settled into its defensive shape and stymied the Cornell attack for the rest of the half and into much of the second.

However, it was Crowell’s first of two goals on the night, at the 77-minute mark, that broke the camel’s back, as she scored with a class finish from an equally brilliant through ball from Growney.

This story was written by and republished with the permission of the Big Red Sports Network.
This story was written by and republished with the permission of the Big Red Sports Network.

Just five minutes later, Crowell scored a wonderful goal from around 10 yards outside the box, using her non-dominant left foot.

The goal set Berman Field rocking, and the fans appreciated Crowell’s effort on the night with a standing ovation for the sophomore as she left the field.

Crowell, usually more of a distributor, said of her goals, “I was just trying to perform the role I see myself in for the team, which is to usually help other people score, but also have my own impact through scoring goals.”

But the damage wasn’t done. Just a minute later, Growney scored her second goal of the season on a deflection off of a Claire MacManus shot.

For MacManus it was her second assist of the night. This was followed by another spectacular goal, at the 86-minute mark, this coming from freshman defenseman and midfielder Kaylee Fitzgerald.

Noticing that VMI goalkeeper Emily Marbury was well off her line, Fitzgerald rocketed a shot in from near midfield over the outstretched arms of Marbury. It wrapped up a near perfect night for the Big Red attack, which saw the constant pressure of their high-octane offense finally break through the VMI defensive line.

The Cornell back line, led by senior co-captain Sydney Cetrullo, was equally impressive in its home debut. All of Charlotte Tate, Cetrullo, Aimee Tavzel, and freshman Whitney Farber had steady games, with Farber in particular looking impressive when moving forward down the right flank.

The Cornell team as a whole only allowed two shots, none of them being on net. That is compared with the Big Red mustering 21 shots, with 10 being on net, and 5 reaching the back of the net.

Youth is going to be a key for the Big Red this season, and the freshman class recruited by Coach Farmer was certainly on display Friday night.

Highlighting the crucial impact the freshman will have on the team this year, Coach Farmer noted “I do have expectations that we’re going to play a better quality soccer and a lot of it is going to come down to those guys.”

Along with Farber, freshman midfielder Katerina Weikert started and had a wonderful game alongside Crowell in the central midfield attack. Additionally, many freshmen got playing time off the bench, including forwards Tess Pullano, Paige DeLoach, Erin Fitzgerald, and Meera Dheer.

But it will be Kaylee Fitzgerald who will always remember this game, as the freshman scored her first collegiate goal. Kelsey Tierney wasn’t tested much in goal, but she kept her third straight clean sheet, a promising start to the season for the sophomore goalie.

For the Big Red, this was the opener of a two-game tournament for them, as part of the Big Red Shootout.

They will be looking to keep up the momentum from this one, as they meet Temple University on Sunday at 3pm. The Big Red can win the Big Red Shooutout tournament with either a win or draw against Temple.

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Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.