On Sept. 2, defender Heather Orrico ’07 scored on a penalty corner with less than three minutes on the clock to send the field hockey team to a 1-0 win over Sacred Heart in the Bulldogs’ season opener. Nearly three weeks later, the Elis are still looking for win number two.

“We really need a win,” Orrico said. “I think it is well overdue and it will really boast the spirits of the team. I have no doubt that we can do it, especially after the hard work we have put in.”

The Bulldogs (1-4, 0-1 Ivy) will try to turn things around this weekend as they host Cornell (4-1, 2-0) Friday and then travel to Holy Cross (4-4) Sunday. The Elis have not won a game since their first contest this fall, and have been out-scored 15-4 over their past four outings.

Last Sunday, the Bulldogs suffered a 4-2 loss to Virginia Commonwealth University. Goalkeeper Kate Crandall ’06, newly returned from injury, allowed three goals in a span of nine minutes in the first half before being replaced by Elizabeth Friedlander ’07 at halftime. The Elis outshot the Rams, 22-12, and took two more penalty corners, but could only produce two scores.

Given the troubles on both ends of the field, the Bulldogs focused on play within the circles in practice this week, both in terms of finishing on offense and playing solid defense.

“We’re really focusing on capitalizing on our offensive circles, making sure our shots are all on goal, and at least 20 percent of those are goals,” midfielder Grace Morris ’06 said. “On the defensive side, there’s been a flurry of goals scored against us, so we want to make sure we play clean, strong, hard ‘D’.”

In years past, Cornell has been a weak team. Despite topping the Elis 2-1 last fall, the Big Red ended up 3-13 and 1-6 in the Ivy League.

A standout freshman class has propelled Cornell to more wins this fall than they notched all of last season. Forward Alyssa DePaola collected an Ivy League Rookie of the Week award after putting up three goals and an assist in games against Columbia and St. Francis. DePaola’s classmate, forward Brenna Gulotta, won her second Ivy League Rookie of the Week award and Ivy League Player of the Week honors after a two-goal performance against reigning Ivy League champion Penn in the Big Red’s 3-1 win last weekend.

The Elis currently sit at the bottom of the Ivy standings, but they have plenty of time to improve on their league record. Several team members said Friday’s matchup is important because a league title is still well within reach.

“This game is huge, not only for our record, but also for our team in general,” forward Katie Rivkin ’06 said. “We’re really looking to come out hard and beat Cornell by a lot, not just by a couple goals.”

Holy Cross will not be much easier. Behind senior Jenna Cook, who leads the squad with 23 points on seven goals and nine assists, the Crusaders have won three of their last four games. Yesterday, Holy Cross outshot Fairfield, 16-7, en route to a 4-1 blowout.

The Bulldogs recognize the strength of their opponents, but believe that this weekend is their chance to get back into the form they are capable of.

“Those games were disappointing, but they’re behind us, and we want to put together what we’ve been working on so it translates into wins,” Morris said. “It really will set the tone for the rest of the season.”

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